Justice Ernest Mwanamwambwa has expressed concern over the increased cases of defilement.
Justice Mwanamwambwa said despite the amendment which was made on September 28, 2005, on defilement, some men have continued to engage in the act that involved children under the age 16.
Justice Mwanamwambwa said that for the past eight to 10 years there has been an increase in reported cases of defilement, which prompted the judiciary to make amendments to the Law dealing with defilement.
He was speaking at the opening of criminal sessions of the High Court in Chipata today.
“The changes were made on September 28, 2005, which amended the Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia, but before the amendment there was no minimum sentence for defilement”, he said.
Justice Mwanamwambwa said before the amendment there was no minimum sentence for defilement as sentences ranged from One day to a minimum of life improsonment.
He said the 2005 amendments set the minimum sentence for defilement at 15 years improsonment adding that the same minimum sentence was set for rape and indecent assault.
“In my view Courts should impose sentences far above the minimum of 15 years, such long sentences that are meant to achieve three main objectives. One is to keep the culprits away from society so that they do not repeat the offence,” he said.
The second was to aim at warning people with similar intentions, to desist from indulging in defilement of children while the third was to register societies disapproval towards defilement.
Justice Mwanamwambwa noted that before the amendments, defilement was only confined to men who had canal knowledge with girls below the age of 16 years adding that it now also covers women who indulge in the same act with boys below the age of 16 years.
Justice Mwanamwambwa disclosed that the second major change that was brought about by the September 2005 amendment was child trafficking.
Before the amendment child trafficking was not an offence, which on conviction, attracts a minimum of life improsonment for ordinary child trafficking but that when a child is trafficked for sexual purposes, it attracts the minimum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.
He said the amendment also introduced a new criminal offence in relation to the girl children and women known as sexual harassment under Section 137A (1) of the Penal Code.
He has also advised women to leave within their limits at wouk places and institutions of learning.
And Eastern Province Prisons Commanding officer Aaron Katota said a total number of 1,124 cases would be dealt with.
Senior superintendent Katoka said a total number of 534 cases were from Chipata, while Petauke and Katete had 177 and 134 respectively.
He said other cases to be dealt with from Lundazi and Nyimba district were 136 and 143 respectively.