Acting Chief Resident Magistrate for the South, Chisomo Msokera, has asked the High Court to review the eight-year sentence handed to 19-year-old Mussa John who was convicted of possession of Chamba.
In a letter dated June 27, Msokera has told the High Court asking for the review of the case.
Senior Resident Magistrate Byson Masonga sentenced Mussa to eight years in jail last week after he “pleaded guilty” to being found in possession of Indian hemp without license, an offence police say contravenes Regulation 4(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Regulations, as read with Section 19(1) of Dangerous Drugs Act.
Msokera, in the letter, noted that the charge used in the case is defective as it cites a wrong punishment provision and does not cite the statue book where the offence is provided for. According to Msokera, Section 19(1)(a) and not Section 16 of the Dangerous Drugs is the appropriate punishment provisions and the offence is crated under the Dangerous Drugs Regulations.
“Other than the irregular charge, this was a proper matter which should be forwarded to your superior court strictly for proceedings of review on confirmation under section 15 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code,” said Msokera, adding that the rest of the proceedings do not strike him as defective.
Msokera also asked the High Court to exercise its supervisory powers due to the irregularity observed and the eight- year sentence meted on the teenager who is also a first offender and considering the perceived injustice on the teenager in relation to the case of Castel managing director Herve Milhade who was only ordered to pay a K1 million fine and in default to serve a custodial sentence of 12 months on a charge of cultivating cannabis sativa.
“I invoke section 26(1) of the court act of the Courts Act in asking your superior court to exercise its supervisory powers in addition to the review on confirmation proceedings over both matters,” said Msokera.
The case of Mussa John has led to condemnation of the criminal justice system in Malawi amid allegations that Mussa was threatened by police to plead guilty.
Meanwhile, social media users have raised over K2 million to support Mussa’s family. The family has also been given a plot and promised rentals for three years.