A report on the inquiry by the State-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) into the controversial discharge of a Pakistani from a defilement case in March this year has established that Malawi Police Service prosecutor Sub Inspector Ishamel Abubast allegedly altered details of the case to defeat justice that led to accused acquittal.
Muhammad Hanif was alleged to have defiled a school girl, 14, in Mudi residential area in Limbe on March 15 after he offered her a lift from school.
Hanif, 57, was arrested on March 16 by Limbe Police after the girl reported the incident before seeking medical examination at the One Stop Centre in Blantyre which confirmed she was defiled.
However, the suspect was released and the matter was picked up by Limbe Police Station where a prosecutor handling the matter, sub inspector Ishmael Abubast, registered it before Limbe Magistrate’s Court as case number 204 of 2020.
A charge sheet shows Hanif was charged with an offence of rape contrary to Section 133 of the Penal Code to which he pleaded not guilty.
But Abubast changed the offence at the court and instead charged the accused with rape as opposed to defilement. The prosecutor then requested presiding magistrate Martin Chipofya to withdraw the case.
Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Advocacy (Chreaa) took up the issue and sought State institutions to investigate corrupt elements by police officers handling the matter.
Presenting MHRC report to the media on Wednesday, commissioner Bertha Sefu said prosector Abubast altered the charge sheet.
Sefu said the prosecutor changed the defilement victim’s age from 14 years to 25 years.
MHRC said it also established that the prosecutor did not take the actual victim to court but instead he “falsely” presented a 25-year-old business woman —accompanied by two ladies—identified as Mary Phiri, as the casualty.
This was done to satisfy Dalton Magistrate Court in Limbe that the victim was indeed an adult and with an aim of consequently securing a discharge for the case which indeed Magistrate Martin Chipofya discharged the Pakistani.
MHRC has said in view of the miscarriage of justice the police should reinstate charges for prosecution.
Sefu said the victim, “ the one who actually suffered the assault” should be brought to court to testify.
“Pursuant to its statutory functions of protecting the rights of vulnerable groups such as children, the commission intends to join the litigation of the case friends of the court,” said Sefu.
Police has also been asked to discipline its prosecutor.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :