Malawi Police service officer, Alex Mphatso Uledi has filed an appeal to the High Court challenging his custodial sentence after he was convicted for an offence of negligence by public officer for losing an official rifle and 15 rounds of ammunition when he was on night duty.
Uledi was imprisoned with Hard Labour by the Lilongwe magistrate court magistrate Patrick Chirwa after he was convicted for negligence by public officer following the missing of police rifle (gun) which the convict had in possession while on duty.
According to the convict’s lawyer, Lugano Mwabutwa of Blackstone chambers, the cop has appealed the sentence on six grounds that they feel the lower court didn’t took into consideration before it handed him (Uledi) the two and half year jail term ,
Uledi lost a gun while on duty last year after he went to bed and was arrested by his fellow police officer after they were not satisfied with his explanation to the incident.
But in his application on Wednesday to the High court judge, Justice Esmie Chombo, lawyer Mwabutwa asked the court to consider overturning the sentence describing it as excessive and very unfair to the convict
“The 30 months IHL sentence is a disgrace as the appellant is a first offender who in the process due to his conviction has lost a job”, he argued.
The UK trained barrister, Mwabutwa told the court that among other reasons for an appeal is that the lower court used a wrong principle of law to give the appellant the 30 months IHL sentence and that it didn’t take to account contributory evidence the accused gave to the court.
Mwabutwa said the lower court gave the Uledi “the excessive sentence” without taking into consideration that there’s reinstitution of the missing gun as it was found with one who confessed to have stolen it.
“I have attached the affidavit which I have sworn on behalf of the appellant indicating that the gun was recovered from one Clement Kazembe who was prosecuted, pleaded guilty under the criminal case number 575 of 2016 and is serving his prison sentence,” he submitted.
He also asked the court to look at insinuating factor that led to the sleep of the officer on duty as he told the court that they were provided with the mattresses to sleep on and his colleague was the first to go to bed at around 11pm and he went to bed around 1am and the gun went missing around 2-3am.
Mwabutwa said this was also said by the state witness, a police officer who agreed to the appellant that indeed they were been given mattress to sleep on.
He then told the court that the police also played a part in the negligence by giving those mattresses to sleep on knowing the officers are not supposed to sleep during work at night as while enjoying the comfort of the mattresses anything can happen
The lawyer then prayed to the court to consider overturning the sentence by reducing it or give him non-custodial sentence.
The State asked the court to sustain the custodial sentence and maybe just consider reducing it considering that the gun was found and that the officer was first offender and his offence was only the negligence by public officer.
Meanwhile the High court judge, Justice Esmie Chombo has since adjourned the case to a later date when she is expected to make her ruling on the matter.
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