Mzuzu — Mzuzu First Grade Magistrate Court has condemned police officers at Mzuzu Police Station for allegedly physically assaulting suspects while in custody in December last year.
First Grade Magistrate, Alexander Gomba condemned the police on Monday when he was delivering judgment on five people who were suspected to have stolen 43 laptops from Centre for Youth and Development (CYD) in Mzuzu.
During hearing of the case last month (February), the suspects complained in court that they were brutally assaulted by some police officers while in cell.
One suspect Gerald Banda showed the court serious body bruises while another, Mcdonald Kalonga, was in a Plaster of Paris (P.O.P) for a broken leg and arm.
"I would like to clearly state that these suspects were badly handled by some officers at Mzuzu Police Station as they were heavily assaulted... I do not need to be convinced that they were really assaulted as they came here in bruises and some in a P.O.P. This is totally uncalled for.
"I do not need to remind people that corporal punishment is illegal in Malawi hence any act of assault to suspects in a police cell is unlawful," Gomba said.
The magistrate also expressed dismay over Mzuzu Police authorities' failure to obey an order which the court gave to investigate the assault and claims that some police officers confiscated money amounting to over K1 million from the suspects on the day of their arrest.
Later, the court found four of the five suspects (Christopher Adam, McDonald Kalonga, Lunya Matebule and Charles Mwale) guilty of the charge of robbery with violence but acquitted Gerald Banda.
The four were each sentenced to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL).