A LUANSHYA woman and her two sons have each been sentenced to six years imprisonment with hard labour for murdering a neighbour who encroached on their house at midnight and attempted to open the door.
Evelyn Mwansa, 53, of house number 59/23 Mpatamatu, and her sons, Mavelic Chama, 34, and Danny Chama, 22, were jointly charged with murder.
The case record indicates that the trio, on January 24, this year, in Luanshya, murdered Musonda Chapa. They denied the charge.
Events leading to the death of Mr Chapa were that he went to the accused persons’ house in the night and was allegedly found tampering with the kitchen door.
The court heard that Mwansa and her sons then came out of their house and started beating the deceased with bamboo sticks and an iron bar.
They left him for dead and returned to the house to sleep.
Further, the court heard that the deceased was taken to the hospital by his elder brother where he later died.
In their defence, the trio argued that they beat up the deceased because they thought he was a thief who had come to steal from them.
Ndola High Court Judge Yvonne Chembe last Friday convicted the trio, saying the prosecution had proved their case beyond all reasonable doubt.
Justice Chembe observed that evidence on record indicated that the accused clearly intended to grievously harm Mr Chapa as they were armed with an iron bar and bamboo sticks.
She, however, said she was going to exercise leniency because there were extenuating circumstances in the matter as the deceased went to the trio’s place at night.
“According to the evidence on record, the accused were armed with bamboo sticks and an iron bar. They clearly intended to do grievous harm on the deceased. I find that the prosecution has proved their case against the accused beyond all reasonable doubt, and I find all the three accused guilty of murder and I convict them accordingly.
“However, there are extenuating circumstances as the facts before me indicate that the deceased went to the accused’s house at midnight, and ordinarily, they had the right to defend themselves and their property. In this view, this would cause me to impose a sentence other than the mandatory one. Other than that, all accused persons are first offenders who are entitled to lenience. I sentence each of you to six years imprisonment with hard labour with effect from the date you were arrested,” Ms Chembe said.
In mitigation, defence counsel Kelvin Msoni pleaded for leniency, saying the trio were members of the same family who were remorseful for their actions.
“My lady, this is a family; a mother and her two sons. The impact of sending them to long periods in prison will be unimaginable. My prayer is that you could consider any other punishment other than that of death,” Mr Msoni pleaded.