THE Chipata High Court has jailed a 68-year-old Lundazi man 18 years for defiling a nine year old. And the High Court has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of an arson charged Katete man who was released from prison by mistake. This is a matter where Watson Mbewe was brought before Lusaka judge Gertrude Chawatama for sentencing.
In mitigation, Legal Aid counsel Sally Bwalya said Mbewe was the first offender who readily pleaded guilty to the charge in the lower court. Bwalya said Mbewe was remorseful and regrets his action. Judge Chawatama said she took into consideration what was said in mitigation but observed that the case the convict committed was a serious one.
“Your action will have a lot of consequences in the life of this young girl. I therefore sentence you to 18 years imprisonment with hard labour with effect from the date of arrest,” she said.
Judge Chawatama also sentenced Charles Mulenga of Lundazi and Maliko Tembo of Nyimba to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour for defilement. When sentencing Tembo, 49, who defiled a 10-year-old, judge Chawatama said defilement was a serious offence and was prevalent in society.
And the court issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Cephas Phiri of Katete district who is charged with arson.
The state informed the court that Phiri finished serving a sentence which was imposed on him by the lower court and that he was released by the prison authorities when he finished serving the jail term forgetting that he had another matter.
Judge Chawatama said it looked like the prison authority does not keep records property.
She then issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Phiri which would be returned upon his arrest.
Judge Chawatama also adjourned two other arson cases because she wanted the ages of the convicts to be properly determined.