Malawi woman convicted for concealing birth

Mangochi Second Grade Magistrate’s Court has convicted a woman and sentenced her to serve one year and half prison term upon finding her guilty of concealing birth.

The offence of concealing birth of a child contravenes section 232 of the penal code and attracts a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment with hard labour when one is convicted.

The court heard that the accused, Anjimile Amin committed the offence on December 30, last year when she, in collaboration with her husband, decided to kill the infant.

“Facts obtained on the ground are that the accused, your worship, had been living with Ali Imedi Kamkwasi as husband and wife for two years,” police prosecution witness, Inspector Efford Kamphonje told the court.

Kamphonje further told the court that in the process, the woman conceived from another man whilst the husband was away from home on a fishing errand where he took some time before returning home.

“On his return, the husband became suspicious of the pregnancy and when he confronted the wife she denied being pregnant,” Kamphonje said.

The court also heard that when labour was due, the accused went to her garden where she delivered where she was followed by her husband after discovering that she was taking too long to return home.

Kamphonje told the court: “As a family the couple connived to conceal the birth of a child by burying the newly born baby in the garden.”

It was also learnt in court that members of the community tipped Group Village Headman Binali Litufu about the incident. The village head later referred the matter to Makanjira Police Post leading to the arrest of the couple on New Year’s Day.

Anjimile Amin pleaded guilty and admitted to the charge of concealing birth of a child. The court, therefore, convicted her on her own plea of guilt.

In mitigation, Anjimile Amin asked the court to exercise leniency when passing sentence owing to the fact that she had been driven to engage in the act to save her marriage and that she also has the responsibility of looking after some children from her first marriage.

However, passing sentence, Presiding Magistrate, Pyson Mwenyali observed that the offence committed by the accused was serious in nature, especially considering that there was life of a person involved as such deserved a custodial sentence to stop the malpractice once and for all.

“The maximum penalty for this offence is five years IHL, however, since it is said that the convict is a first offender the court has sympathized with you and therefore I sentence you to 18 months IHL,” pronounced Mwenyali.

Meanwhile, the court has since adjourned hearing of the case to a later date involving the husband who pleaded not guilty and denied the charge to allow the police parade witnesses against him.

Anjimile Amin, 36, hails from Binali Litufu village in the area of Senior Traditional Authority Makanjira in the district.

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