Malawi court hands down long prison sentences to sex offenders

Two magistrate courts in Malawi have handed lengthy prison sentences to two men for sexual attack charges, sending strong signals that the courts will hand stiffer punishment to sex  offenders.

In the Dedza First Grade Magistrate court on Friday, the court sentenced a 28 year old man to 11 years imprisonment with hard labuor (IHL) for defiling his wife’s young sister who is 11 years old on 11 August this year.

The man, Daisoni Folomani, pleaded guilty in court saying he was compelled by sexual feelings because his wife was away to a maize mill.

Public prosecutor Constable Damiano Nyasulu said the girl (name withheld) was sent by her parents on an errand to a sugar cane garden.

He said Folomani found the girl alone in the garden and forced himself on her.

“The girl was sent by her parents in the morning to look after sugar canes in a dimba garden and the accused went to the same garden looking for trees for constructing a kraal of pigs.

“When he saw that the girl was alone, he forced her down and started defiling her, however, the girl’s father who was also going about doing his business found them and Folomani ran away,” he said.

Constable Nyasulu said Folomani was reported to Chafumbwa police unit which arrested him on the same day.

Defilement, which is contrary to section 138 of the penal code, fetches a maximum sentence of life imprisonment but First Grade Magistrate Damiano Chibwana Banda said he spared Folomani the life sentence because he was a first time offender.

“But the court can not condone what you did. I therefore, sentence you to 11 years in jail to deter others (from committing similar offence),” Chibwana said.

Both Folomani and the girl hail from Kachepa village, in the area of Traditional Authority Chilikumwendo in Dedza.

In Kasungu

The Kasungu First Grade Magistrate’s Court on Friday sentenced a 22-year-old man to 12 years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) for defiling a girl aged four at Katulula Village in the area of Senior Chief Chulu in the district.

Kasungu Police Public Relations Officer Sub Inspector Edwin Kaunda identified the convict as Anthony Saka also from the same area.

According to Kaunda, the court heard that on July 30, 2012 Saka saw the girl at her mother’s house playing with friends. He got hold of her and took her to a nearby bush where he sexually assaulted  her before running away.

“The girl reported the mater to her mother who at that time was in the house,” he explained, adding upon checking on her, the mother was terrified to see blood oozing from her daughter’s private parts.

He said the court further heard that the development prompted the mother to inform neighbours who mobilised and launched a man-hunt for Saka. The group is said to have captured Saka at a market and later handed him over to Chulu Police Unit from where he was taken to Kasungu Police Station.

Kaunda added that Saka first appeared before First Grade Magistrate Hens Kantchere on August 3, 2012 where he pleaded not guilty to defilement which is contrary to section 138 of the penal code.

He said the court finally convicted Saka of defilement on Friday after state prosecutor Aaphus Banda paraded three witnesses to prove the case.

Banda asked the court to consider giving the convict stiffer sentence arguing that his actions were the same as killing.

“The First Grade Magistrate Hens Kantchere agreed with the prosecutor and sentenced Anthony Saka to 12 years IHL,” said Kaunda.

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