RUMPHI (Joel Chirwa, Mana)- Rumphi First Grade Magistrate Court has sentenced Chiza Mkandawire known by chieftaincy title of Village headman Mtanila to 13 years imprisonment with hard labour for defiling an eight year old girl.
Mkandawire, 47 from Mtanila village in the area of Traditional Authority Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe in the district committed the offence on the night of 15 April this year at Lusani area.
The small girl had reportedly gone to the convict’s house to do some piece work but she was through with the chore late in the night. This accorded an opportunity to the convict to have a pretext to escort her to her home.
But instead the convict took her to nearby maize garden where he sexually abused her then gave her a piece of pork meat for her to keep the matter under wraps.
However upon arrival at her home her anxious grandfather quizzed her about the pork meat and her whereabouts and the girl revealed everything about the ordeal she was subjected to.
The matter was reported to Rumphi Police who upon getting a medical report that confirmed that the girl was defiled immediately arrested the village head and charged him with offence of defilement.
When the matter was taken to court, the state paraded its witnesses the village head was found guilty and convicted accordingly.
The state through Police Prosecutor, Inspector Michael Paulino asked the court to mete out a stiffer sentence to the convict.
“It is inhuman for the village headman to defile an eight year old girl whom he was supposed to protect. It is therefore necessary that this court impose a stiffer penalty to deter other would be offenders from doing the same,” said Inspector Paulino.
In his ruling, Magistrate Brian Msiska observed that the observed that the offense the village head committed was very serious and attracts a punishment of 14 years.
He explained that the legislature provided this stiff penalty because it considered the act grievous felony and described the village head behaviour in this case as immoral not befitting a person of his calibre.
In his mitigation, Mkandawire pleaded for a lenient sentence on the grounds that he is a village headman, he was a family bread winner that his dependants would suffer if give a lengthy jail term and that he is a first offender.
Nonetheless, Magistrate Msiska felt that the appropriate punishment in this case was 13 years imprisonment with hard labour saying he came with this punishment to deter other would be offenders.