Malawi court convicts 26 people for loitering at night

The First Grade Magistrate’s court in Malawi’s Eastern district of Balaka ordered 26 people to pay a fine of K1, 000.00 each or serve 1 month imprisonment with hard labour for being found loitering at night within Balaka Town.

Police Prosecutor Sub Inspector Mercy Chande told the court that the suspects were arrested after being found loitering within Balaka Town on the night of 10th August, 2014.

“The suspects failed to give convincing reasons as to why they were found loitering at night and this made the Police to strongly suspect them that they were there for illegal purposes and charged them with a case of rogue and vagabond which is contrary to section 184 of the Penal code”, said Chande.

 All the suspects including two women pleaded guilty to the offence.

In her Sub Inspector Chande asked the court to consider giving the offenders stiffer sentences so that they should learn to be responsible citizens and that the tendency of loitering within the town at night can make the town prone to crime.

She further said giving them a stiffer sentence will be a lesson to them and would be offenders.

 But the suspects asked the court to forgive them considering that they are first offenders and that they have families to look after.

Passing judgement, First Grade Magistrate Damson Banda concurred with the Police that the suspects need to be responsible and that the tendency of loitering at night within the town can make the town prone to crime.

He therefore ordered them to pay a fine of K1, 000.00 each, and in default serve 1 months imprisonment with hard labour.

 He said he has given them such a sentence “so that it should be a lesson to them and would be offenders.”

Meanwhile, all the suspects have paid the fine except two John Nyanga 23, who comes from Liwonde village Traditional Authority Sawali in Balaka district and Samuel Dinala who comes from Dinala village, Senior Chief Nsamala in the same district of Balaka and are to serve 1 month jail term.

Balaka Police Station Officer Senior Superintendent Benson Ndhlovu said Police in the district will continue conducting sweeping exercises with an aim of curbing crime in the district. 

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