Mzuzu man acquitted on manslaughter charge in street slapping incident

 The Mzuzu High Court has acquitted George Sumaili who was charged in January last year with an offence of manslaughter which is contrary to section 208 of the Penal Code.

Sumaili was being accused of unlawfully causing death of Leonard Muhammad on 19 January 2013 outside Immigration Regional offices in Mzuzu city following an argument.

But in his ruling, the presiding Judge Dingiswayo Madise, after analyzing testimonies from four witnesses the state paraded, found no case for the accused to answer.

Justice Madise:  Acquits
Justice Madise: Acquits

Justice Madise ruled that Muhammad’s death was by misadventure and proceeded to acquit Sumaili of the charge.

According to evidence provided in the court by the witnesses, the deceased (who was drunk) reportedly insulted the accused (Sumaili) as he was buying air time from inside his car.

The deceased told the accused he was making noise with his vehicle, a statement that angered him. He then got out of his car and followed Muhammad before slapping him on the face.

Muhammad fell down the concrete drain and started bleeding from behind his head. He was then rushed to hospital using Sumaili’s car unfortunately he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

And according to court documents of Criminal Case no. 14 of 2013 between the State and George Sumaili (the accused), the defendant was nabbed and charged with manslaughter.

At plea, he denied the offence and the matter first went to trial on 24 October 2013 then it went again on 30 October and finally on Wednesday this week (25 February 2014).

“In these premises I find that the deceased fell from the pavement to the concrete drain due to loss of balance occasioned by drunkenness.  This was death by misadventure and I find no case for the accused to answer in this matter.  I proceed to acquit him of the charge of manslaughter.

“It is sad Mr. Muhammad died on 19 January 2013 and may his soul rest in peace.  But his death cannot be attributed to the actions of the accused or indeed any other person,” pronounced Justice Madise in open court on Wednesday.

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