——-A woman of Katete district has been sentenced to 42 months for child stealing.
Dorothy Banda of Fyopo village told the court that she took the baby from her sister-in-law’s house as she wanted to take her as her own.
Particulars of the offence where that Dorothy, 32, of Fyopo village on November 24, 2014 while in Katete district, with intent to deprive Josephine, who had lawful care or charge of the child under the age of 16, fraudulently took the said child.
In giving testimony mother of the one-month-old baby twin, Josephine Miti, told the court that she found one of her babies missing when she came back from taking food to her father-in-law’s house.
Josephine said before she left for her father-in-law’s place she left the babies sleeping in her house while her sister-in-law, Dorothy, was outside but when she returned she found that Dorothy was not at the house.
She explained that when she entered the house she found that one baby, who was female, was missing from where she was left sleeping.
Josephine narrated that after that she informed people in the village that her baby was missing.
She then decided to send a Mr Ziononga Banda to Dorothy’s house to inquire about the whereabouts of the baby as she was the person that remained with the babies while the mother was away.
She told the court following the inquiry by Ziononga, Dorothy denied having taken the baby.
She further said Ziononga went back for the second time and during that visit he heard a baby crying in Dorothy’s house.
It was at this point that Dorothy accepted to have taken the baby and informed Ziononga that she saw nothing wrong in her taking the baby, adding that the baby in question was also her brother’s child.
In mitigation Dorothy told the court that she was a mother of five, adding that the court should exercise leniency as her husband was not able to take care of the children because of his epileptic condition.
She pleaded with the court to charge her with a fine that she could go back and take care of her children.
However, Katete Magistrate, Simushi Mwakoi, told Dorothy that the offence she committed was very serious, adding that by law the offence carried a sentence of 14 years.
Magistrate Mwakoi said cases of babies being stolen in the country have gone rampant, saying there is need to bring it to an end.
He told Dorothy that she should have considered the plight of her children first whom she has difficulties taking care of before stealing another one, thereby increasing her burden.
Before passing judgment, Magistrate Mwakoi called Dorothy’s husband father of the stolen baby in question to share with the court what they thought could be done about the matter since they had talked about it in the village.
Dorothy’s brother, who is the father of the baby, told the court that during the village meeting it was agreed that she should compensate the complainant with a K2000.
Meanwhile Magistrate Mwakoi reminded the two that the life of the baby was not worth a K2000 or property that the family owned.
He said the reason given by Dorothy was not convincing, adding that the country has heard many confessions of children being sold and used for ritual purposes, adding that it was not reasonable for Dorothy to claim that she wanted to keep the baby as her own when she was failing to feed and clothe her own children.
Magistrate Mwakoi said there was something evil that the accused could have planned to do with the baby, adding that had it not been that the baby cried for it to be found the family would have regretted the outcome of such an act.
He then sentenced Dorothy to three years six months simple imprisonment with effect from November 27, 2014.