LUSAKA business executive Golden Phiri has been jailed for four years for bigamy.
Phiri, 49, contracted marriage with Mazabuka Police officer-in-charge Lizzy Machina this year when the first one with Emmah Chima was still in force.
Bigamy is the crime of marrying somebody when one is still legally married to
somebody else another.
Kitwe-based High Court judge, Isaac Chali, in handing down his judgment in Lusaka yesterday, found it as a matter of fact that Phiri had legally married Ms Chima and that there were no divorce papers to show that the duo were no longer husband and wife.
This was in a case in which Phiri was facing one count of bigamy contrary to Section 166 Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia after he entangled himself in a second marriage to Ms Machina.
Mr Justice Chali said Phiri did not only betray his first wife but the entire family because his actions had no good reasons, knowing that his marriage was contracted under the Marriage Act on December 6, 2010.
“In the circumstances and in order to send a warning to like-minded men or indeed women, their legal marriage was conducted by one Joseph Mwenda at the Civic Centre and as such it could have been divorced under the said Act or any other foreign similar law.
“I send you to a jail term of four years with hard labour with effect from today,” he said.
He said the offence that Phiri committed had brought a lot of emotions especially to his spouse who had been left in limbo after he disappeared from the matrimonial home.
Mr Justice Chali said Ms Chima did not re-marry because she was conscious of the law while the convict enjoyed his new life with his fresh spouse.
In mitigation, Phiri said he was remorseful and genuinely behaved in the manner he did because he was under the impression that his separation with his wife could not be amended, and concluded that the marriage had ended.
“My wife had run away after experiencing marital problems and had been gone for a long time, so I took it that she was no longer interested in the marriage due to the longer period it had taken,” he said.
But Mr Justice Chali said Phiri should have consulted with elderly people on how to end the marriage even if it was under customary law instead of making unfounded assumptions over straight forward matters.
[Times of Z]