High Court acquits two Malawi Police officers on manslaughter charges

The High Court in Mzuzu has acquitted two Cops on manslaughter charges following allegations that they bludgeoned to death a suspected thief at Kafukule in Mzimba District in 2009 because the State had no objective evidence.

The deceased, Robert Chima died of head injuries.

“It is better to send 100 criminals home than to send one innocent man to prison. The law calls upon me to exercise that doubt in favour of the two accused,” said Judge Dingiswayo Madise in his 10 pages judgment, a copy Nyasa Times obtained.

Madise invoked section 188 (b) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code in setting free Martin Chimwaza and Joel Blessings Mahiyo saying he was in doubt as to their guilty.

Justice Madise: Acquitted the cops

“The accused shall be entitled to be acquitted of the offence which he is charged if the court is satisfied that the evidence given by either the prosecution or the defence creates a reasonable doubt as to the guilty of the accused in respect of that offence,” reads the said section.

During the four year old trial, the prosecution paraded four witnesses but one testified that he saw the cops beating Chima.

Stocker Mhango, a meat trader at Trading Centre, told the court that he saw Chima bleeding while handcuffed and was constantly felling down as the Cops herded him to their base.

“There is no dispute that the two Cops arrested the deceased in their capacity as Cops. There is also no dispute that the deceased was injured while in Police custody and later died.

“The question is who inflicted those fatal injuries? There are three versions. That he was assaulted by the two cops. That he was assaulted by the crowd and lastly that he fell face down and injured himself,” Madise noted.

He said it was unfortunate that the prosecution only paraded one eye witness.

“It is difficult to believe this lone eye witness who apparently so what happened when it was dark. It is saddened that this Court is sadden by the loss of life of Chima. Whosoever inflicted those fatal injuries will forever never find peace,” Madise said.

In related offence, the same Court is yet to set a date in the ongoing trial of three Mzuzu based Cops accused of bludgeoning to death another suspect, Edison Msiska in Police custody January 2012.

Msiska, a former Natural Resources College student, died on January 29 2012, four days following his arrest after he was found with property suspected to have been stolen.

In February 2013 the High Court in Mzuzu gave the defence team led by lawyer Christon Ghambi of CHRAM Associates in Mzuzu, 30 days to monitor the progress of one of its client who was reportedly sick in Blantyre and was unable to attend the ongoing trial.

However, Justice Madise also ordered Ghambi to report to the court after the expiry of 30 days. But it seems he is yet to do so because NyasaTimes investigations have found that the Court is still waiting for Ghambi’s report to set the date for the resumption of the trial.

But at the close of the Prosecution case last year, the Court found the trio Constable George Kamphe, Constable Victor Msoloma and Constable Lucius Mpakeni with a case to answer on a charge of manslaughter and not murder as earlier charged.

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