Man kept in prison for 10 years after High Court judgment goes missing


Mwale (Picture credit: Legal Aid Bureau)

Mateyo Charles Mwale was arrested in 2013 for murder and the Malawi High Court concluded his trial in 2014 but the file containing the court judgment reportedly went missing and Mwale remained on remand in prison up to this year.

According to the Legal Aid Bureau, on 6 June 2013, Mateyo Charles Mwale was enjoying a beer with Malizani Tiyeni in Ntchisi district. While socializing, Mwale’s brother-in-law was involved in an argument and the two put down their bottles and intervened to calm the situation down.

In the course of the fracas, the brother-in-law sustained injuries and was taken to hospital where he died. Police, therefore, arrested Mwale and Tiyeni on 22 August 2013 on suspicion that they caused the death of the man.

When the matter was taken to court, Mwale’s co-accused was represented by a private lawyer and he was released on bail in 2014 after making an application to the High Court. Mwale was sent to Ntchisi Prison.

A murder trial commenced in the High Court and it was concluded on 29 September 2014 but the judgment was yet to be released. By then, Mateyo Charles Mwale was still on remand at Ntchisi Prison and while waiting for judgment, he was transferred to Maula Prison in 2016.

When Legal Aid Bureau with representation by Senior Legal Aid Advocate Agnes Ngoma and the Irish Rule of Law International took up Mwale’s matter, it was discovered that his file went missing.

“There was no record of the long-awaited judgment at the court or at the Director of Public Prosecution’s office,” the bureau said in a post on Facebook.

Yesterday, 8 March 2023, High Court Judge Justice Annabel Mtalimanja ordered that Mwale should be unconditionally released on bail.

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