Dowa woman jailed two years for burning son over chicken


The Dowa First Grade Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday sentenced a 28-year-old woman to two years imprisonment with hard labour for burning her 7-year-old son after accusing him of stealing chicken.

The court through state prosecutor Sub Inspector Agnes Mphinga heard that the woman, Rute Sikelo, on the evening of August 18, 2021 at Ngalazuka village in Dowa District injured her son by burning his cheeks, nose and hands for stealing a chicken belonging to a neighbour.

The court further heard that, the boy and his friends at home caught a chicken and slaughtered it and later roasted it.

Later, the owner of the stolen chicken went to the victim’s mother to let her know that her child had slaughtered the chicken and ate it up.

Upon hearing the news, the woman, Rute Sikelo, took a knife and put it on the fire and started burning the child on the cheeks, nose and hands. This happened soon after the owner of the chicken had left to her home.

Following the incident, the matter was reported to police, leading to the arrest of the woman while the child was referred to Dzaleka Health Centre for examination and treatment after sustaining burns on the cheeks, nose and hands.

Appearing before court, the woman pleaded not guilty to a charge of acts intended to cause grievous harm contrary to Section 235 of the Penal Code. This however, prompted the state to parade four witnesses leading to her conviction.

In mitigation, the woman asked the court for leniency, saying she has other children who need her care apart from the victim.

In her submission, state prosecutor Sub Inspector Agnes Mphinga asked the court for a stiff punishment, arguing that the woman committed a serious offence.

Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Amran Phiri quashed the mitigating factors and concurred with the state’s submission and sentenced the woman to 2 years imprisonment with hard labour as a warning to others with similar intentions.

The woman, Rute Sikelo, comes from Ngalazuka Village in the area of Traditional Authority Mkukula in Dowa District.