A 23-YEAR-OLD farmer of Mutobe village in Chipata, who savagely beat and killed his 10-month-old son on allegation that the infant was a wizard, had his appeal against the death sentence quashed by the Supreme Court.
Kazembe Zulu was on July 28, last year, sentenced to death by the Chipata High court after convicting him of murder.
Particulars of the matter are that on November 8, 2013, in Chipata, Zulu murdered Zindaba Zulu, his baby.
In his ground of appeal to the Supreme Court, Kazembe urged the court to consider imposing a lighter sentence on him other than death.
He argued that the trial court did not consider the extenuating circumstances of his drunken state at the time he committed the offence. Zulu also argued that he believed the infant was a wizard that was turning into a supernatural being at night.
But Justice Gregory Phiri sitting in Ndola recently, observed that the High Court did not error in law by imposing the death sentence on Kazembe as there were no extenuating circumstances in the matter.
Mr Justice Phiri noted that there was no way an infant of 10 months could have been practicing witchcraft as he was solely dependent on his parents.
He also dismissed the defence of intoxication because there was no evidence before the court on how Zulu had been adversely affected by the opaque beer, which he took before the killing.
“There is evidence before court that the accused beat the deceased toddler until he sustained head injuries, which led to his death. Accused also squeezed his wife’s throat until she was rescued by the neighbours. And when the neighbours came, they found the deceased with foam on his mouth and the accused went on and punched the dying child on his head in full view of the neighbours.
“This appeal is therefore dismissed and this court upholds the death sentence imposed on the appellant,” Justice Phiri said.
The evidence before court was that the appellant beat his deceased child to death due to his belief that he was a witch.
The court heard that on the material night, Zulu woke up and started trampling on the deceased, until he became unconscious. He claimed that he saw the toddler in a sitting position on their matrimonial bed, whilst shaking its head vigorously.
But in his defence, Zulu told the trial court that it was an accidental homicide as he allegedly staggered and stepped on the deceased’s stomach in a drunken stupor.