Zomba Chief Resident Magistrate Court has handed a prison sentence to a 26-year-old man who attempted to snatch an envelope from President Peter Mutharika.
The man Francis Itende has been ordered to pay a fine of K3000 and spend 3 months in prison.
The court heard from the State Prosecutor Superintendent Solomon Gomezgani Mchawi that Itende on 23rd December, 2017 at Songani Trading Centre in Zomba conducted himself in a manner likely to cause breach of peace by trying to snatch an envelope that contained undisclosed amount of money from the hands of Mutharika.
Mchawi said, on this material day, Mutharika was on his way to Mangochi from Blantyre and upon arrival at Songani Trading Centre, he thought of greeting Democratic Progressive Party women who gathered there.
In the process, the head of state produced an envelope that contained undisclosed amount of money which he wanted to give the women and Itende rushed in, in an attempt to snatch the envelope but was arrested by the security details.
The suspect was then charged with the offence of conduct likely to cause a breach of peace which is contrary to section 181 of the penal code and he pleaded not guilty to the charge a development that made the state to parade witnesses.
Following the evidence tendered by the State, the court found the suspect guilty and consequently convicted him.
In his submission before sentence, Superintendent Mchawi prayed to the court to consider giving the convict a stiff custodial sentence considering the nature of the offence.
He said, although the offence under which the convict committed is a misdemeanour, it is aggravated by the circumstances in which it was committed as it involves the head of state who is not an ordinary person.
“The head of State deserves respect and protection and what Itende did compromised the state security and he deserves a stiffer custodial sentence so that it should be a lesson to him and would be offenders,” concluded Mchawi.
In mitigation, Itende asked for forgiveness saying he is a first offender and his conduct was due to the influence of alcohol.
Passing sentence on Friday, his worship Chief Resident Magistrate Texious Masoamphambe said the convict’s conduct could have led to public disorder had it not been for the security details to arrest him.
He therefore ordered the convict to pay a fine of K3000 and serve a 3 months custodial sentence.
Itende has since paid the K3000 fine and what remains is for him to serve a three months custodial sentence.
He comes from Katsekaminga village, Traditional Authority Kamenyagwaza in Dedza district but was residing at Songani Trading Centre with his parents.