Malawi Police Service (MPS) officer Stewart Lobo has been sentenced by High Court in Lilongwe to serve a jail term of 12 years for murdering a builder, George Thekere, during the July 20 2011 nationwide anti DPP-led government demonstrations.
The court convicted the cop on October 4, 2016 after , Justice Fiona Mwale said it was safe to conclude that the State had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Lobo was indeed responsible for the shooting of late Thekere on July 21 2011.
Mwale said even though in his defence, witnesses claimed Lobo was not aiming at Thekere, but a boy named Jones Mpambiche, the accused should have known that his shooting would have consequences.
“I find the accused person No. A7197 Constable Stewart Lobo guilty of the offence of [murdering] George Thekere and accordingly convict him of the offence,” Mwale said.
Lobo who was represented byb Clemence Chamwenda if the Legal Aid Bureau, pleaded for a short custodial sentence but prosecutors led by Senior State advocate Tione Atate Namanja asked for lengthy jail term.
But the sentence was passed by Justice Chifundo Kachae on behalf of Judge Mwale.
“In a case in which a police officer was accused of shooting a lorry driver, and causing death to twi other people, the officer was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. In this case 12 years is also appropriate. The court, therefore sentences the convict to 12 years imprisonment with hard labour,” said Kachale in his ruling.
This is the first conviction and jail sentence the State has secured on the issue.
There are four known cases of police officers facing murder charges in relation to the July 20 killings, among them, Ian Kanyama, a son to former Inspector General of Police Paul Kanyama who resigned in 2014.
Other police officers, who were arrested allegedly in connection to the July 20 killings included Lemekezo Mikuti, Benedicto Dzombe, Paul Mussa, Mahomed Kulusinje and Kelvin Nyirenda, all from Ndirande Police Sub-station in Blantyre.
Human rights campaigners say the conviction and sentencing will serve as a reminder that no-one, including police officers is above the law.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :