Mchinji baby thief gets four years


A court in Mchinji district has sentenced the 28 year-old woman who stole a baby at the district’s hospital to four years in prison.

The woman Chrissie Vitche Banda stole the baby from a ward at Mchinji District Hospital on January 3 after the child’s mother Lucia Clement, 21, briefly left the ward.

Banda was arrested on Thursday in her home village after elders told police that she claimed to have given birth to the baby but was not pregnant recently.

cuffsIn court the woman admitted to stealing the baby and was found guilty of child stealing which is contrary to section 167 of the penal code.

After the conviction, state prosecutor Humphreys Makhaliha asked the court for a stiff sentence saying the case is serious.

“The case is serious in nature as it attracts a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment with hard labour , furthermore the health of the child was completely deprived since allowing it to be away from the Kangaroo special care could lead to serious complications of the baby,” pleaded the prosecutor.

In mitigation the woman who has three daughters from different fathers said during the time of incident she was possessed with evil spirits since she went to the hospital only for D & C but due to some pressure received from her husband of bearing him a baby boy she opted of taking the baby away.

Mchinji First Grade Magistrate Major Phiri said cases of such nature are becoming common hence it is the duty of the courts to impose stiff penalty.

“Thank the state that they charged you with this offence otherwise I would have rather advised the prosecution to amend the charge sheet to charge you with an appropriate charge under human trafficking which attracts a maximum penalty of life imprisonment with hard labour,” said the magistrate.

He later sentenced her to serve a custodial sentence of four years imprisonment with hard labour.

The convict Chrissie Vitche Banda hails from Chikhutu village in the area of traditional authority Zulu in Mchinji.