A MAGISTRATE’S court recently scolded a Lusaka resident for lack of respect for places of worship when sentencing the accused for breaking into a church and stealing from there.
Lusaka magistrate Mwaka Mikalile said she was astounded that people like Bupe Kasoma, 24, had no regard for places of worship to an extent where they can steal from them.
“It is unfortunate that you do not even fear to steal from a house of worship,” she said.
This is in a case in which Michael Mbewe, 23, Bupe Kasoma, 24 and Isaac Mukosha, 23 were jointly charged with stealing 19 chairs from the Anglican Church.
Mrs Mikalile told a packed courtroom on Monday that the inside of the church is supposed to be accessible for people to freely enter and pray and it’s disheartening that people have resorted to terrorising and committing crimes in the house of the Lord.
“The doors of a church are supposed to be left open for anyone to enter, kneel and pray but this is not possible as criminals like you [Kasoma] even terrorise the church which is supposed to be a place of safety.
This is a serious offence carrying a maximum of seven years imprisonment, I sentence you to 20 months imprisonment with hard labour from the day of your arrest, if you are not satisfied you can appeal to the High Court within 14 days while Mukosha, I set you to liberty,” Mrs Mikalile said.
Kasoma was convicted of stealing 19 chairs worth K2,000 after he broke into the Anglican Church while his co-accused, Isaac Mukosha, 23, was acquitted for lack of evidence.
Passing judgment, Magistrate Mikalile said she had considered the evidence that was before her and convicted Kasoma while the co-accused, Mukosha, was set free, saying the prosecutions failed to prove a case against him as the evidence did not corroborate.
Particulars of the offence are that on January 18, 2014 in Lusaka at around 04:00 hours Mbewe, Mukosha and Kasoma broke into the Anglican Church and stole 19 chairs altogether valued at K2,945.
The court heard that on the fateful day, the caretaker of the church Peter Banda heard a strange noise and decided to check the premise and discovered that a lock had been damaged and chairs were missing.
The court further heard that the matter was reported to Chunga Police Post where, after investigations, police officers found Kasoma at a bar with one of the chairs.
Kasoma later led the officers to Mbewe’s house where they recovered 11 chairs. Mbewe claimed that Mukosha was also part of his gang that raided the church.
Under warn-and-caution statement Mbewe admitted the charge and was convicted accordingly while Kasoma and Mukosha both denied the charge and it was the duty of the prosecutions to prove a case against them.