The High Court in Mzuzu has acquitted two police officers and convicted a third – all from Mzuzu Police Station – in connection to the mysterious circumstances that surrounded the death of a Natural Resources College (NRC) student, Edwin Msiska, who died in police custody in 2012.
Police officers George Kamphe and Lucius Mpakeni were acquitted while Victor Nsolomo was convicted.
Edson Msiska was arrested for allegedly being found in possession of stolen property during the morning of 25th January, 2012 and was locked up at Mzuzu Police Station. He died on January, 29, 2012 in custody as police were arranging transportation to take him to the hospital.
A postmortem report from Mzuzu Central Hospital revealed Msiska was assaulted while in police custody, and that the cause of death was severe assault/trauma.
At the beginning of the trial, the suspects were charged with the offence of murder but by close of prosecution, the court found that there was not enough evidence to let Kamphe and Mpakeni answer a murder case. Instead, the two were charged with manslaughter.
Mzuzu High Court Judge Dingiswayo Madise told a visibly jam packed court that the state failed to find sufficient evidence, beyond any reasonable doubt, to implicate Kamphe and Mpakeni.
“I know how much pain the family of the deceased has gone through, I can feel their pain. However, to convict innocent people in an attempt to console the family and succumb to demands by the public that punishment be meted out regardless of the dictates of law and evidence will be great injustice,” said Madise.
He further said that evidence tendered pointed to Victor Nsolomo as the one who caused the unlawful death of Msiska.
The deceased also mentioned him twice to two different people on two separate occasions, witnesses said. There was only one Victor at the CID offices at the material time.
Madise explained that the family of the deceased is perfectly entitled to sue for wrongful death and negligence in a civil court, citing total negligence by the Malawi Police Service.
Had the deceased been taken to the hospital earlier, Madise argued, Msiska could have been saved.
Defence lawyer Christone Ghambi said he was happy that the law had taken its course but was quick to say that they will consult with the family of the convicted to map way forward.
Sentencing for Victor Nsolomo will be delivered in the same court in 21 days.
Chief State advocate Dzikondianthu Malunda said the State will request the court to give a stiffer sentence to Nsoloma.
Msiska’s relation, Ester Lupafya, said the family will decide whether to sue government after Nsoloma has been sentenced.- Additional reporting by Pius Nyondo, Nyasa Times.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :