13 November 2012

Zambia: Three Members of Same Family Convicted for Murder

THE Kabwe High Court has sentenced a business executive and his 18-year-old son to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour for murder while his 16-year-old son has been sent to Katombora reformatory over the same offence.

This was after the court found them guilty of murdering their neighbour over a slasher he had borrowed and did not return it.

After the judgment, family members of the convicts wept uncontrollably in and outside the court while the family and friends of the victim felt the court was too lenient.

Passing judgment in a packed courtroom yesterday, Ms Justice Elita Mwikisa said the offence committed was serious considering that members of one family brutally pounced on Masautso Mtonga.

Ms Justice Mwikisa said she was hopeful that the 15-year sentence slapped on Geoffrey Ndawa and his 18-year-old son, Bernard Chikoti would make them reflect on their action considering that a life was lost.

The court sent the juvenile to Katombora for three years.

In her ruling, the judge said the use of a metal bar to hit Mr Mtonga was inhuman.

The three, all of Kabwe's Highridge residential area, were jointly charged and convicted of murdering Mr Mtonga, 40, on December 29, last year.

Mr Mtonga sustained abdominal injuries, rupture of the liver, abdominal bleeding, chest injury, fracture of the right and left ribs and head injuries which led to brain concussion.

She said the accused persons used brutality and cruelty by tying the victim's hands and putting him on a wheelbarrow to take him to the police.

"Assuming the deceased for arguments sake was found to be a thief, he was still entitled to some human rights.

"The accused persons therefore intended to kill Mtonga with malice aforethought and the evidence provided was credible," she said.

After the sentence was passed, relatives openly wept both inside and outside the courtroom as others collapsed on the benches.

But the late Mr Mtonga's relatives felt the court was too lenient considering that even the judge observed that he was inhumanely treated prior to his death.

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