A Roman Catholic Church priest convicted of transacting in tissues of a person with albinism has pleaded for mercy, saying he has changed a lot.
However, the state wants life sentence for the priest as well as life sentences for five people convicted of killing MacDonald Masambuka, the person with albinism.
The priest and eleven other convicts appeared before High Court in Blantyre this morning for oral submissions.
Catholic Priest Fr. Thomas Muhosha, Police Officer Chikondi Chileka, deceased’s biological brother Kassim White Masambuka and Machinga district Clinical Officer Lumbani Kamanga are among the persons convicted on different charges such as murder, causing someone to commit a crime, causing another person to harm a person, transacting in human tissues and transacting business on human tissues among 7 counts leveled against them.
The five who were found guilty of murder are Maxwell Matchina Sosola, Cassim White Masambuka, Dickson Manesi Ndengu, Bashir Lilongwe and Alfred Yohane.
Senior state advocate Pirirani Masanjala said in court today that those convicted of transacting in human tissues should be sentenced to life in prison while those convicted of human trafficking should get 14 years in jail each. Masanjala also proposed life sentences for the five convicted of murder.
“Having used a weapon, carefully the planning the offense, being more than one, not showing any remorse throughout the period of trial, having killed Mr Masambuka specifically because he was a person with albinism and the accused being of mature age, we submit that the appropriate sentence is life imprisonment,” Masanjala said.
When given a chance to mitigate, Catholic Priest Muhosha said he know he has offended many but he pleaded for mercy.
“I am not the same person. I have changed a lot in prison. l have learnt a lot that has changed my life.
“This mistake just happened, I am here because l was tricked by a police officer,” said Muhosha.
Trouble Kalua, deputy director of Legal Aid Bureau, who represented seven of the convicts said the court should take into account that the convicts have been in custody for four years following their arrest in 2018.
Judge Dorothy Nyakaunda Kamanga is expected to sentence the convicts on June 27.
Masambuka was killed in 2018. He went missing in March and his body was later found buried in April 2018.