The Mulanje first grade magistrate’s court on Thursday sentenced a 46-year-old teacher to 14 years in prison for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl from his school.
According to Mulanje Police spokesperson Gresham Ngwira, the court heard through Assistant Superintendent Davison Banda of Mulanje Police Station that the convict, Thomas Mzunga, sexually abused the standard 5 pupil last year.
The abuse came to light after a niece to the victim who is also a teacher discovered a love letter written by the girl and addressed to Mzunga.
Her aunt then took the letter to school management for assistance. This opened a can of worms with many other people including fellow teachers stating that they had been suspecting this deplorable relationship for long.
Among others, the people revealed that the girl had at some point bought some birthday gifts for the teacher
But after being asked about the document, both Mzunga and the girl
denied knowing anything about it.
The denial forced the victim’s aunt to report the issue to police who arrested the teacher following the victim’s confirmation of the affair. The girl also revealed to police that the two had for some time been having sex.
Police charged the teacher with defilement that contravenes section 138 of the penal code.
But appearing before his worship Smart Maruwasa, the man denied the charge forcing prosecuting team to parade eight witnesses to prove it beyond reasonable doubt.
Satisfied with the evidence, first grade magistrate Smart Maruwasa found the teacher guilty in a case that had dragged for close to a year, from July 2017.
In his submission, Assistant Superintendent Banda who is Mulanje police Station Prosecution Officer (SPO) said what Mzunga did was a sign of irresponsibility requiring a stiff penalty to serve both as a lesson to him and a deterrent to would-be-offenders.
But despite the convict telling the court that he looks after his old mother hence the need for leniency, magistrate Maruwasa imposed a 14-year jail term on Mzunga saying his mitigation did not hold water.
The magistrate said teachers, just like other grownups, have the responsibility to ensure the safety and security of children especially girls.
Mzunga who was represented by Atkin Chambers, hails from James village in the area of senior chief Mabuka in the district.