A Magistrate court in Rumphi on Monday sentenced three men to 8 years imprisonment with hard labour for breaking into a house where they stole a Sumsang laptop and a flash disk.
The Court heard from Police Prosecutor, Inspector Kelvin Ng’ambi that the incident happened during the morning hours of May 8, 2020.
The owner of the house, at the time, had gone to Rumphi market and had left her little niece playing with friends outside her house.
Upon her return, she got surprised after she observed that her Sumsang Laptop which was left at the sitting room was not in the house.
She called out her niece asking her if she had knowledge on the laptop’s whereabouts, but the niece denied.
The matter was reported to Rumphi police and police immediately instituted investigations.
The suspects were apprehended when one of them was offering for sale the said stolen flash disk. Later, the police recovered the laptop.
The men were charged with the offences of house breaking and theft which flout sections 309 (a) and 278 of the Penal Code respectively.
Appearing in court, the convicts denied the charges leveled against them. This prompted the state to parade 3 witnesses who testified against them.
In submission, the State through Inspector Kelvin Ng’ambi pleaded with the court to give a stiff sentence to deter would-be offenders.
In mitigation, all the three convicts prayed for lenient sentence claiming that they are first offenders and breadwinners, as such, their families will suffer in their absence once jailed.
Passing sentence, the presiding Magistrate read section 337 of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code which stipulates that first time offenders deserve leniency by providing non-custodial sentence unless if the court provides justifiable reasons to impose a custodial sentence.
Phiri observed that the state had proved the required justification. He concurred with the state’s submissions and slapped convicts with 8 years imprisonment with hard labour for the count of house breaking and two years imprisonment with hard labour for the count of theft.
The convicts are Manfred Luhanga aged 31 who hails from Jama village under Paramount chief Chikulamayembe in Rumphi, Thokozani Kwakwata aged 36 who hails from Chifisi village under Traditional Authority Mwambo in Zomba and Chawanangwa Mhango aged 20 who comes from Mpeta village under senior chief Mwankhunikira in Rumphi.