A woman on trial for murder 17 years ago last Wednesday saw her day in court after getting sentenced to two years in prison.
Alice Sinoya pleaded guilty to causing death of Noel Makoko in 1999 contrary to section 208 of the Penal Code.
High Court Judge, Dorothy Nyakaunda Nyirenda sitting at the Magistrate court initially handed down an 18 year sentence but reduced it to two years due to mitigating factors given by the defence advocate for Sinoya.
The defence advocate first mitigated that 17 years is a long time for a person to be on trial. Secondly, Sinoya pleaded guilty. Thirdly, the prolonged time Sinoya spent on remand; 3 years and 11 months and lastly family responsibilities entrusted in her.
Both the senior state advocate and the defence concurred on these factors.
The court heard that on 24 September 1999, Makoko entered into an agreement with Sinoya, who was then working as a commercial sex worker in Luchenza to indulge in the act but Makoko failed to pay up for the services.
Sinoya confiscated Makokos’ shirt in order to force him to pay. The two then agreed that Makoko would return the following day with the pay to retrieve his shirt.
Days later Makoko returned for the shirt but did not bring the money with him. Instead he is said to have decided to retrieve his shirt by force whereby he decided to strangulate Sinoya.
Sinoya who was then preparing salads with a knife retaliated by stabbing Makoko to death in the chest.
Judge Nyirenda in her ruling said; “the two factors in this case are that she used a dangerous weapon to stab a man on the chest resulting to his death and that generally man slaughter is serious offence as such anyone convicted deserved due punishment for their act.
“Section 42 of the constitution states that a person should be notified of what he or she is charged with within the required time.”
Nyirenda cited a ruling from the case of Rafael vs. Republic 1999 noting “If a person accused of homicide is kept for 2½ years without being told of their judgement then they have served their sentence.
“If 2½ years means you have served a harsh punishment then how about waiting 17 years of your life?”
Nyirenda said; “It is an embarrassment for the justice system to say the least when cases have to drag this long because then people will not trust us to deliver.”
Ruling on Sinoya’s case was supposed to be on August 9, 2005 however she skipped bail without giving any reasons.
Another ruling set for October, 2015 failed as the prosecutors did not bring the case to court.
Sinoya comes from Senior Traditional Authority Chimaliro in Thyolo District.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :