Malawi court slaps 69-year-old grandfather with 14-year jail-term for raping child

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Thyolo First Grade Magistrate’s Court has sentenced a 69-year-old man, Benson Harrison, to 14 years in prison with hard labour for raping his 10-year-old grandchild.

Thyolo Police Station Deputy Public Relations Officer sergeant Rabecca Kashoti has confirmed and said that the incident happened on December 27, 2022 at Chandamale Village in the area of Traditional Authority Nsabwe in Thyolo.

Kashoti said that the court through state prosecutor Sub Inspector Felix Senzani heard that on the particular day around 10:00 hours, the victim was sent to bring fire to his grandfather in the absence of her mother who went early for gardening.

“After she brought the fire to her grandfather, the old man forced the victim into his house whilst removing her clothes, pushed her down and defiled her.

“Soon after the sexual abuse, the old man threatened the girl not to reveal to anyone whilst producing a Vaseline bottle containing black substance,” she said.

She added that the following day, the mother got curious to how the child felt that particular morning. The woman interrogated the child but out of fear the child denied not to have slept with anyone.

“This prompted the mother to take the victim to Thekerani Health Centre where she revealed to have been defiled by her grandfather,” added Kashoti.

Appearing before court, Harrison pleaded not guilty to a charge of defilement. This prompted the state prosecutor to parade four witnesses who proved beyond reasonable doubt to charge levelled against him.

In mitigation, the convict asked for court’s leniency, stating that he is a first offender and that he is the only person managing his home.

In his submission, state prosecutor prosecutor Senzani prayed for stiffer punishment, stating that defilement cases are rampant in the area and it is also a serious offence.

He further added that being the child’s grandfather, the man was supposed to protect the girl not the other way round.

Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Kondani Chinangwa concurred with the state’s submission and sentenced him to 14 years Imprisonment with hard labour.

Harrison hails from Chandamale Village in the area of Traditional Authority Nanseta in Thyolo District.

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