Government has been urged to seriously consider revisiting the law on defilement to provide for different sentences according to age groups and situations if the law is to be meaningful.
Kabwe High Court Judge Timothy Katanekwa said that government should seriously consider reviewing the legislation in order to met out stiffer sentences to the culprits.
He said this during the opening of the Kabwe High Court criminal Sessions in Kabwe today.
Judge Katanekwa said while courts were happy with the stiffer punishments enshrined in the law on defilements, there was need to perfect the legislation so that young people involved in the scourge were looked at differently.
“We are happy with the development the law has taken by providing stiffer punishments for offenders save to note that the law needs to be perfected so that the punishment for a young man of 22 years who has consensual sex with a young girl of 15 years is not the same as the punishment for a fully grown up adult of 90 years old who has forced sex with a one year old baby,” he said.
Mr Katanekwa noted that the current minimum punishment for both scenarios was 15 years.
He commended government for building court rooms at Chibombo and Kapiri Mposhi and renovating various local court buildings in the province, pointing out the renovation of the former Venus Theatre building in Kabwe to house the High Court would help bring judicial services closer to the people.
Judge Katanekwa also praised government for providing transport to the Zambia Prisons Service and hoped that the Zambia Police service who, were key players in the dispensation of justice would be given adequate transport.
Earlier, opening the session, Central Province Minister Ackimson Banda implored courts to work diligently in order to control crime in the area.
Mr Banda told the session attended by Kabwe High Court Judge in charge Reuben Mwape that courts should deal with matters relating to corruption speedily and firmly and not allow the scourge to glaze the judiciary as it was the mirror of society.
On funding, Mr Banda said government was working out measures to improve funding to the judiciary as the national economic situation improved.
He, however, implored the department not to use the lack of funds as a scapegoat, saying lack of resources should not be used as an excuse to fail to perform.
And Mukobeko Maximum Prisons Officer in charge Phastone Shaloba said there were 2,595 inmates in the various prisons in the province as at 06:00 hours today.
Meanwhile, Copperbelt Minister Mwansa Mbulakulima says it was regrettable to learn that child defilement and violence against women was on the increase on the copperbelt despite the courts giving stiffer punishment to offenders.
Zanis Kitwe reports that Mr Mbulakulima said the current measures introduced by the courts to curb defilement seem not to be bearing desired results on the copperbelt.
Mr Mbulakulima said this in Kitwe today in a speech read on his behalf by copperbelt Secretary Jenipher Musonda at the official opening of the criminal session of the High Court.
He said there was urgent need to review the law so that this devilish act was completely eradicated.
He said defilement has proved to be the biggest challenge which society and the courts must vigorously address.
The Minister also appealed to courts and other law enforcement agencies to prosecute and punish traditional healers who prescribe to HIV/AIDS infected people to have sex with children as a cure for the disease.
Mr Mbulakulima said these traditional healers were currently committing a serious crime which leaves the defiled girls traumatised for the rest of their lives.
He also disclosed that government has approved the tender for the construction of Mpongwe local court at K152 million and Chimfunshi in Chililabombwe at K400 million.
He said the rehabilitation and development of infrastructure and improved conditions of service would boost the effective discharge of justice in high courts, subordinates and local court levels.
And speaking earlier at the same function, Kitwe high court Judge Loyd Siame said the Judiciary was conscious and very much alive to the fact that children need special protection.
Judge Siame commended the media for highlighting defilement cases to the public.
He said it was gratifying to note that the media was now reporting vigorously on sexual cases to ensure that the public was aware of the sexual offences being committed against women and children.
He urged the media to continue writing stories about the scourge to ensure that the girl child and women were protected.
And Kamfinsa Prison Officer in charge Superintendent Steven Sikaonga said currently they were 2731 detained in prison on the Copperbelt.
Mr Sikaonga said Government was in the process of transferring 300 inmates from Lusaka central and Kabwe Maximum prison to Kamfinsa prison in Kitwe in its bid to decongest the prisons
He said Kamfinsa prison was not at the moment congested and that the food supplements were adequate.
He added that the only challenge being faced by the institution was fuel to ferry remandees to court.