THE Chipata High Court on Friday sentenced a 28-year-old woman of chief Nyamphande’s area in Petauke district to five years simple imprisonment for causing the death of three of her children through poisoning.
Adess Lungu was initially charged with three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder but Lusaka Judge Catherine Lombe Phiri
reduced the murder charges to manslaughter after a medical report from Chainama revealed that the convict had a mental abnormality.
Lungu on unknown date but between 12 and 13 July 2016 caused the deaths of Brian, Alion and Alick Sakala and attempted to kill Lazarous
The state called seven witnesses to prove its case while Lungu gave evidence on oath but did not call any witness when put on her defence.
The postmortem taken at Petauke district hospital revealed that the deceased were exposed to a toxic substance.
Samples were however taken from the deceased and subjected to a toxicology analysis at Food and Drug Laboratory in Lusaka.
A pesticide was detected from all the samples after the toxicology analysis.
One of the prosecution witness, Alion Sakala senior, who was the father of all the children, said he divorced Lungu because she attempted to
kill him through food poisoning.
But Lungu during her defence said it was not true that she wanted to kill her husband but that they divorced because Sakala had many girlfriends and used to beat her.
Judge Phiri said there was no direct evidence in the matter adding that all the evidence was circumstantial.
She said the convict was linked to the offence because she was the last person who cooked for her children and was as well the last person to be seen with them.
Judge Phiri said the source of the poisoning was the food which was prepared by the accused.
She, however, noted that the medical examination at Chainama hospital revealed that the convict suffered abnormality of the mind adding that
the convict also attempted to commit suicide on a number of occasions.
In mitigation, defence council Susan Kwenye stated that the accused was the first offender who was remorseful adding that the death of her own
children would haunt her.
Kwenye asked the court to exercise lenience when sentencing Lungu.
In her judgment, judge Phiri said she took into account the mitigation and also the issue of mental health.
She sentenced Lungu to five years simple imprisonment in counts 1, 2 and 3 and two years simple imprisonment in count 4.
The sentences will run concurrently.