Court Sentences Man To Five Years IHL For Child Abduction
The First Grade Magistrate’s Court in Mangochi has convicted and sentenced a 29 year–old man, Vweya Kaunda to serve a five year jail term for abducting a five year old boy contrary to section 78 (1) of childcare, protection and justice Act.
Police Prosecutor, Sub–Inspector Liston Sabola told the court that on May 7, 2016 the boy was in the company of his grandmother as she was selling kachasu (a locally distilled gin) at Msaka Trading Centre.
He said the suspect came pretending to buy some drinks and when he saw that the grandmother was busy serving other customers he unlawfully took the child and ran away.
“A few hours later the grandmother realised that the boy was not around and she started looking for him, fortunately people alerted her that he was seen with the suspect going towards a nearby mountain which is 20 metres away from the trading centre,” Sabola said.
He added that people joined her in the search where eventually he was found with the suspect but failed to give a proper account of his motives. He was therefore arrested on the spot.
Kaunda pleaded not guilty to the charge and denied any wrong doing which forced the state to parade four witnesses.
In mitigation, Kaunda asked the court to consider passing a lenient punishment on the basis that he committed the crime under the influence of alcohol.
However, passing the judgment, First Grade Magistrate, Ronald M’bwana said the court had been lenient with the convict because he was a first offender but deserved a custodial sentence all the same due to gravity of crime.
He said the court had arrived at five year imprisonment penalty to act as a lesson as well as to stop others harbouring similar motives from such crime in view of the fact that such cases were becoming common.
M’bwana further said the suspect’s intention might have been to kill or sell the child as such sentenced the convict to five years imprisonment with hard labour.
Kaunda comes from Chimphamba Village in the area of Traditional Authority Nankumba in Mangochi.