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Petauke man to hang for murder

THE Chipata High Court has sentenced a Petauke resident to hang for murder and another 15 years for causing grievous harm.

Lusaka Judge Gertrude Chawatama, who was sitting in Chipata, jailed Bechani Mwale of Katununu village in chief Nyamphande’s area for murdering Daina Phiri and attempting to murder her daughter, Julita Banda, in April last year.

Julita, who was one of the prosecution witnesses, wept uncontrollably when she identified Mwale during her testimony.

She told the court that Mwale killed her mother and left her with life threatening injuries after the convict’s father Pepulani Mwale was arrested for abducting the deceased’s granddaughter for five days.

“Bechani came with a group of people at night three days after his father was detained at Petauke police station. When he came, he told me that ‘this is the time for you to die, you cannot take my father to police cells where he is eating faeces and you are eating nshima’.
From there, he hit me with a pounding stick and I fell down, I didn’t know what happened later,” Julita said.

She said she later discovered that she was in St Francis Mission Hospital after some weeks.
“I was told that I became unconscious and my mother (Daina Phiri) died during the attack by Bechani and his friends. From that time up to now, my life is in bad state such that I cannot do anything on my own,” said Julita.

In mitigation on the second count, Legal Aid counsel Sally Bwalya said Mwale was the first offender who was remorseful for his action. Bwalya said the convict has had plenty of time to reflect on his action while in prison, adding that he was youthful and could easily reform. But judge Chawatama, who dismissed Mwale’s defence that he was intoxicated when he committed the offence, said there was malice aforethought before the commission of the offence.

Judge Chawatama sentenced Mwale to hang by the neck until pronounced dead in the first count and 15 years imprisonment with hard labour in the second count.

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