The First Grade Magistrate Court in Chitipa has convicted and sentenced five police officers to 14 years imprisonment after being found guilty of robbing a guest who lodged at a rest house in the district of money amounting to K450, 000 .
The convicts are No A9845 Sub/Inspector Patrick Nyirenda , No A8336 Sub/Inspector Solemn Chunga formally PRO for the station , No A9088 sergeant Siza Hara , No A8026 Sergeant Khaza Kaludzu and No B2258 constable Mphatso Zinjani all from Chitipa police station.
The jam packed court sitting on Thursday before First Grade Magistrate Julius Kalambo heard that between the night of 22 and 23 March this year the 5 convicts broke into the rest house and hit the victim [ Meston Chiona 30 years of Mwandenga village in the area of Traditional Authority Mwakawoko in Karonga District ] on the head with a metal bar before robbing him .
According to court records the five pleaded not guilty to the charge of Aggravated robbery which infringes section 301 of the penal code leaving the state with no option other than parading 8 witnesses who testified against them bringing a total of 20 witnesses including those of the defense.
However, the presiding Magistrate, after critically analyzing the facts before him, said prosecution had successfully proved their case beyond reasonable doubt.
Senior Superintendent Christopher Katani prosecuting pleaded with the court to mete out a stiffer sentence on basis that, the convicts despite being the first offenders but they committed one of the serious offences in Malawi.
He further told the court that the government through the Inspector General of Police has been lamenting with the acts of police officers who commit criminal offences .
The prosecutor,said that it is sad to note that the people who were supposed to protect life and people’s property have become threat to the society by robbing them their money.
In mitigation they five asked the court to exercise leniency with them adding that locking them away would render their families and dependants to languish in absence of the breadwinners and that they have automatically lost their job.
The presiding Magistrate, in his ruling concurred with the state that the offence committed is a felony which attracts a capital punishment [Death/Life imprisonment]. He said that the law exempts first offenders from custodial sentence but there are some exceptional circumstances that the court can take into consideration like in the case that the offence was committed in a company, the money stolen was not recovered and that the victim was injured with a metal bar and was lack that he survived.