A member of the Seventh Day Apostolic Church in Blantyre has been sentenced to two years in prison with hard labour for refusing to take his sick pregnant wife to hospital.
The man Saddock Jemitala Kankhuni of Zuze village, traditional authority Njolomole in Ntcheu was convicted of negligent act causing harm which contravenes section 247 of the Penal Code.
Blantyre Police Public Police Relations Officer Augustus Nkhwazi said Kankhuni was arrested together with two members of the church following the death of his pregnant wife on 30th August, 2018.
Nkhwazi added that the woman Bombisi Lackson, 30, developed a pregnancy related sickness on August 27 while she was seven months pregnant.
“Instead of taking her to hospital for medication, the husband and members of the church locked her up in her house,” he explained.
The members of the church prevented any of the woman’s relatives who were not members of the church from going in to cheer the patient saying they were praying for her.
She died three days later.
The matter was reported to police and officers took the body to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.
Post-mortem examination on the body certified that the woman died due to ruptured cerebral arteries due to acute hypertension.
The medical report also indicated that the woman’s life could have been saved if she had been taken to the hospital in time.
Police investigations led to the arrest of the husband, pastor of the church Jeremiah Levinson and the church elder Hosea Mikeasi.
Appearing before the Blantyre Senior Resident Magistrate Court, the three pleaded not guilty to the charge of negligent act causing harm.
During trial, his worship Martin Chipofya acquitted the pastor and church elder saying the two were not directly responsible for taking the woman to hospital.
He said it was the responsibility of the husband to refer his wife for medical attention when he noticed of her illness.
Senior Resident Magistrate Chipofya then sentenced the husband to twenty four months imprisonment with hard labour saying this should serve as a warning to would be offenders.
The deceased hailed from Chimdikiti village, traditional authority Kalembo in Balaka.