The First Grade Magistrate’s court in Malawi’s eastern district, Balaka, has sentenced a 34 year-old man to two years imprisonment with hard labour for abducting four children.
State Prosecutor Sergeant Winily Chikhobili to the court that that the suspect Oscar Fideswas arrested by members of the community on the 28th day of September, 2015 at Chipinga village in the area of Traditional Authority Nsamala in the district on allegation that he abducted four children aged between 2 and 4 years were on their way to a Nursery School.
Chikhobili said the victims met the suspect Fides who told them to follow him to Blantyre; but some people became suspicious of his moves and when asked of where he was going with the children the suspect said he was taking the children to Blantyre. He told them that even their parents of the children were aware of the trip.
“This surprised them because the person was a stranger in the area. They then took Fides to the parents of the children who expressed ignorance of their children’s trip to Blantyre, said Chikhobili”
Fides was charged with the offence abduction which is contrary to section 78 sub section 1 of Child Care, Protection and Justice Act number 22 of 2010.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge but the court found him guilty and consequently convicted him after the state paraded six witnesses and proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.
Prosecutor Sergeant Chikhobili asked the court to consider giving the suspect a stiffer sentence considering that cases of this nature seem to be on the increase and the state was not sure of what he could do to the children if he succeeded in taking them; but in his mitigation, Fides asked for leniency saying that he has a wife and children to look after.
First Grade Magistrate Felix Mandala said taking children without the consent of their parents is an offence and even the court is not sure of what he was going to do with the children if he succeeded in taking them.
He therefore sentenced him to 24 months imprisonment with hard labour. He said he has given him such a sentence so that it should be a lesson to him and would be offenders.
Oscar Fides comes from Chafisi village, Traditional Authority Wimbe in Kasungu district but was residing in Liliongwe but committed the offence in Balaka district.