Standard six pupil jailed 4 years for theft

A standard six learner at Nyamadzere Primary School on Thursday could not believe his ears when Nsanje First Grade Magistrate Court sentenced him to four years imprisonment with hard labour.

The court heard that Ronex Butao, 29, and Luka Samson Manuel, 20, during the night of June 30 broke into the house of George Mnjale and stole two Multi Choice decoders and Ecco DVD player all valued at K40,000.

The two were therefore answering burglary and theft charges contrary to sections 319 subsection (a) and 278 of the Penal Code respectively.


Although the two pleaded not guilty, the court through presiding Magistrate, Anderson Masanjala, found them guilty of both offences and sentenced them accordingly. He said there was sufficient proof that the two stole the items because they failed to reveal where they got them in spite of the properties being found in their possession.

“Despite presenting witnesses, the court has found you guilty of the two offences since the witnesses showed that they were just enticed to present themselves the way they did,” said the Magistrate.

Masanjala said the two were supposed to be given stiff punishments so that would-be lawbreakers would learn and refrain from committing similar offences.

The Magistrate also told the convicts that the burglary offence was very critical and that it attracts a maximum sentence of either death or life imprisonment while the second offence attracts a maximum sentence of five years IHL.


During mitigation, Butao asked for lenient punishment saying he was a first offender, he looked after his wife and four children and that he had an electronic shop in which he stored customers’ property.

Manuel, on the other hand, said he had lost all parents and had no relation since he was the only child in his family. He added that he was a standard six pupil and was therefore supposed to go back to school once school commenced.


The court then sentenced Butao to 52 months IHL for burglary and 18 months IHL for theft.

Whereas the standard six Samson Manuel was handed down 36 months IHL for the first count and 12 months for the second count.

The court said the sentences for both offenders would run concurrently.

Butao hails from Nthukuso Village while Samson comes from Magulugulu Village, both from Traditional Authority Malemia in Nsanje district.

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