THE Supreme Court has upheld the life sentence imposed on a 42-year-old man of Garden in Lusaka who defiled a two-year-old toddler.
Mwamba Lutanda appealed to the Supreme Court after the High Court sentenced him to life imprisonment for defilement.
Supreme Court Judge Elizabeth Muyovwe, sitting in Ndola last Thursday, upheld the sentence, stating that the circumstances surrounding the matter were aggravating as the child was of tender age and suffered severe injuries on her private parts, as well as a broken hymen.
Particulars of the offence are that on July 29, last year, in Lusaka, Lutanda had unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of 16.
In his ground of appeal, Lutanda urged the court to consider imposing a lighter sentence on him other than life imprisonment because he was a first offender who readily pleaded guilty to the charge.
Lutanda also argued that life imprisonment was too harsh and excessive and it had come to him with a sense of shock.
“We have considered the grounds of appeal. We take note of the sentiments of the court below which state that the age of the victim was a severely aggravating factor. So, the sentence does not come with a sense of shock. This court is of the view that the sentence of life imprisonment imposed on the appellant by the court below was appropriate and it is therefore upheld,” Justice Muyovwe said.
Evidence before court was that during the evening of July 30, last year, Lutanda, having roasted some pork, told the victim’s mother that he wanted to share a meal with her daughter.
The victim’s mother then went into the house but when she came out, she found that Lutanda had disappeared with the child.
The court heard that the victim’s mother went towards Lutanda’s house and when she called her daughter’s name, she heard a dull response emanating from the appellant’s house.
She then pushed the door and saw Lutanda half-naked, with his pair of trousers below the knees.
Further, the court heard that the appellant was caught having sex with the child who was also naked.
The victim’s mother then apprehended Lutanda with the help of her neighbour who called out for help.
“The mother of the victim found the appellant red-handed with the victim. Her evidence together with that of her neighbour places the appellant on the scene of crime. Further, the baby was naked and was crying. The appellant was naked, too,” Justice Muyovwe said.