Zambia: Court Upholds Mum, Son Death Sentences

THE Supreme Court sitting in Kabwe has upheld the death sentence slapped on a mother and his son who killed a three-year-old child so that they could become great hunters.

This is in a case in which Steven Mwila and Dorothy Chanda were convicted of murder contrary to section 200 of the Laws of Zambia.

Particulars of the offence are that the two, all of Luwingu District, are alleged to have murdered a three-year-old child who was left in their custody on October 2, 2004.

During the trial, the mother to the deceased child told the court that she left her three-year-old son with her mother and brother but was shocked when she returned to discover that the child was missing and her efforts to find out the child's whereabouts proved futile.

The court further heard that the two accused persons, after being questioned by the village chief, claimed that the child had fallen into a well as they were drawing water, statement they later changed later by saying that the child had walked to the well on his own.

She said she did not believe the story of the child walking to the well considering that the distance from the village to the well takes an hour.

The mother to the deceased child testified that five days later, the body of the child who was discovered in a metal bucket which was dumped in the bush. The suspected body of the child had been burnt and that only the bones and skull were found.

The two later admitted before the chief that they killed the child because they wanted to make a concoction to become successful hunters.

At the closure of the case, the two were found with a case to answer and put on their defence but maintained their innocence, the State, however, submitted that the two be found guilty for the offence of murder while the defence lawyers appealed to the court to acquit the appellants, saying the State had failed to prove the case considering no person saw the appellants commit the crime.

But the court sentenced them to death to hang by the neck until pronounced dead.

The appellants later on May 7, 2013 filed a notice challenging the conviction and their sentence in the Supreme Court but no grounds of appeal was submitted by the State and the defence.

In passing sentencing, Supreme Court Judge Elizabeth Muyovwe sitting in Kabwe, quashed the appeal, saying it lacked merit and described the killing of a child as gruesome and upheld the death sentence slapped on them.

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