Court acquits 18 murder suspects in Karonga

By Collins Mtika, NyasaTimes

The High Court sitting in Karonga acquitted 18 murder suspects because the state either did not offer evidence or the evidence provided failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused.

In one such case where Muchinga Kilende and nine others were accused of causing the death of Matthias Simkonda at Lufita trading centre in Karonga in March, 2009, the court noted that there was no prima facie case requiring the 10 accused to answer.

According to court records the group is alleged to have clobbered Simkonda to death because they suspected that he was practising witchcraft.

The court reiterated that the law demands that the state must prove that an offence was committed and that it was all the accused persons who committed the offence.

“He was an innocent man who was falsely accused of witchcraft. The Killer of Simkonda may never be found. But let me point out that there is no witchcraft in this world,” said the judge (whom we cannot name for fear of reprisals).

And in another case where Kakatero Simkonda and five others the state again failed to establish a case of murder against the accused.

These were accused of causing the death of Tumaini Kawonga at Moses Village in Chitipa. The court observed that the two witnesses testified in court that Tumaini was murdered but failed to say by whom.

“Both witnesses said they never saw the six commit the offence. In the matter I find that the state failed to establish the case of murder and the evidence advanced cannot compel this court to call the accused to defence,” said the judge.

In a case of infanticide against Joyce Sinkhala, the state failed to offer evidence hence she was acquitted. The court also acquainted Amini Muthali of Manslaughter because of the same reasons.

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