A Mazabuka High Court has sentenced a twenty two (22) year old Man of Kafue to Six (6) years imprisonment with hard labour for causing the death of his wife.
Livingstone based High court judge Ernest Mukulamutiyo, who was conducting the high court session in Mazabuka district, convicted and sentenced Emmanuel Mulenga to six years imprisonment with hard labour after being found guilty of causing the death of his wife.
Mulenga, a resident of Chanyanya in compound in Kafue District who stood charged with one count of murder Contrary to Section 200 CAP 87 of the laws of Zambia however his murder evoked and reduced to manslaughter after the prosecution team failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused willfully and intentionally murdered his wife.
However the court ruled that the death was caused as a result of the provocation that the accused suffered at the hands of his deceased’s wife.
Particulars of the offence were that on an unknown date but sometime in June 2014, Mulenga made a trip to Hateba village in Chief Hanjalika’s area in Mazabuka District in order to pick up his wife who had travelled to her home village to see her sick brother.
In his defence, Mulenga informed the court that when he reached his wife’s village, he discovered that his wife was having an affair with her named uncle and that at one point he found the two in bed.
Mulenga testified that on another occasion he found his wife with the same uncle in the house in a compromising manner a situation that forced him to consult with relatives and the village headmen who managed to reconcile them.
He told the court that following the unfolding events in the village, he requested his wife to leave her village so that as a couple they could return to their matrimonial home in Kafue but to his surprise, his wife refused saying she wanted to marry another man in the village.
Mulenga testified that his efforts to convince his wife to return home proved futile as she insisted on staying in the village telling him to go back alone.
He said his deceased wife further warned and threatened that if he continued staying in the village, she would burn the house where he was staying so that he could die.
The court further heard that on the 29th of June, 2014, a domestic dispute ensued between the couple at their house around 20:00 hours resulting into a fight.
According to Mulenga; his deceased wife picked an axe which she wanted to hit him with saying after overpowering her, she later set the house on fire.
Mulenga testified that during the provocation by his wife, he managed to push her to the ground in act of defence and later fled the burning house after realizing that his life was in danger because villagers wanted to attack him.
He said he managed to escape the wrath of the villagers and bolted towards the stream for his safety where he managed to walk back to his home in Kafue.
However, the state prosecution team which called two witnesses, Edwin Hamutabi the deceased uncle and Chimuka Muganya the deceased aunt respectively testified before court that they had no doubt that Mulenga was behind the murder of their relative.
In his evidence, Hamutabi said he rushed to the deceased house after he saw the house on fire and upon reaching, he found the deceased lying on the door and that besides her there was a blood stained axe.
Muganya who later joined Hamutabi also said she saw the deceased husband coming out of the burning house running away after which she and her brother together managed to remove the body of the deceased from the burning house while unconscious and still gasping for breath.
And passing his ruling, Judge Mukulamutiyo said the court had considered both the evidence from the prosecution and the defence team adding that the court was convinced that the accused person was behind the cause of his wife’s death.
Judge Mukulamutiyo however observed that the charge of murder levelled against the accused could not succeed considering the circumstances that led to the death of the deceased.
He said the accused though guilty of the offence, his actions were not intentional as he acted under provocation and had no willful intention to kill his wife.
Judge Mukulamutiyo however found the accused guilty of the offence of manslaughter and convicted him accordingly.
In mitigation led by legal aid counsel Switz Mweemba, Mulenga prayed for courts leniency saying he was a first offender who regretted his action adding that the period he had been incarcerated in custody had taught him a lot.
Mulenga further alluded to the fact that the death of his wife had left him devastated and traumatized saying his attempted to preserve his marriage caused the death of his dear wife.
He prayed that the court could exercise maximum leniency considering the fact that he was still a young man whom if integrated back into society could play a role in fostering development.
In passing his judgment, Judge Mukulamutiyo said the court took into consideration the mitigation more especially that the marriage differences were attributed to his wife and her relatives.
He however observed that the offence committed was a serious one and sentenced Mulenga to six years imprisonment with hard labour with effect from 5th July 2014 a date that the accused was apprehended and remanded in custody.