THE Kasama High Court has discharged an extremist religious Mpika couple of murdering their 18-month-old baby on grounds of insanity.
Osward Kayula, 40, and his wife, Maggie Chintakwa, 35, of Kasenga Resettlement in Chief Luchembe’s area who appeared before High Court judge Petronella Ngulube astounded the court on several occasions by claiming to be prophets and quoting Bible passages to the trial judge.
The coupled starved their baby to death in the name of fasting and prayer.
Chintakwa refused legal representation and rubbished State advocates prosecuting the matter saying only lawyers from heaven could represent her.
The court failed to proceed with the matter and had referred them to Chainama Hills Hospital in Lusaka for observation by a consultant psychiatrist.
According to a report from the hospital that was before court, the duo at the time of committing the offence was mentally ill.
Upon their return from Chainama, Ms Justice Ngulube reduced the charge from murder to manslaughter before proceeding with the case.
She said while she was convinced they were guilty of the charge of manslaughter she could not convict them of the subject charge.
“I find them guilty by reason of insanity,” the judge said.
She gave Kayula an absolute discharge but ordered Chintakwa who was still exhibiting signs of schizophrenia to be detained at the President’s pleasure at a psychiatric facility.
“While the prosecution’s evidence would have justified a conviction, I find that the accused is not fit to take plea and stand trial.”
According to evidence before court the couple had formed a church that only included them and their six children.
Chintakwa who called herself a prophetess was convinced that the world would come to an end in the year 2012 and told her husband not to cultivate any crops.
At the time estimated by Chitankwa as when the biblical war of Armageddon would occur, the couple and their six children locked themselves up in their house for a period of fasting and prayer.
She had told her husband and children that their house would save them as it was as good as the ark built by Noah in the Biblical times.
It was during this period that the youngest child is believed to have starved to death.
Concerned family members and residents of the settlement became worried when they smelt the decomposing child’s body and reported the matter to police.
When police arrived at the scene, they found the decomposed remains of the child which were wrapped in a plastic bag covered with a baby blanket.
The child had been dead for more than a month.
times of zambia