The Choma Fast Truck Court has slapped an 18-months imprisonment with hard labour on Ernest Mudenda after convicting him of theft.
Mudenda 37, of Zimbabwe compound in Choma today appearing for judgement before Resident Magistrate Ethel Phiri.
Mudenda was facing one count of theft which is contrary to section 272 of penal code chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence were that on October 29, 2019 in Choma district, Mudenda and Derick Siapeteka, whilst acting together, stole scrap metal at a named farm worth K1, 000, the property of Jackline Zaloumis.
In mitigation, the convict asked the court to exercise leniency and allow him to serve a suspended sentence because he was the breadwinner in his family.
Mudenda said his three children would stop going to school if he was given a custodial sentence.
However, magistrate Phiri said the offence of theft was a very serious one hence the need for a custodial sentence on people like Mudenda.
She then handed down an 18-months long prison sentence commencing from the date of arrest, which is October 29, 2019.
Mudenda’s co-accused Derick Siapeteka readily admitted to the charge and is already serving his sentence at Choma correctional facility.
And Peter Munchenga 30, of Popota area has walked to freedom after the same court found him not guilty of the offence of trafficking in 1.2 kilogrammes of marijuana.
Resident Magistrate Ethel Phiri stated during judgement that the state’s two key witnesses from the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) gave contradicting statements during trial.
She said proper investigations should have been conducted on the other two witnesses who might have easily planted the drugs in Munchenga’s bag but nothing was done to that effect hence creating doubt in the mind of the court.
Particulars of the offence were that on October 3, 2019 in Choma district, DEC received a tip off from the public that Munchenga of Popota area was dealing in drugs namely cannabis.
In response to a tip-off, DEC officers, in the company of officers from the Crime Prevention Unit, went to Munchenga’s shop in Macha road in which the officers found a black and blue bag.
The bag contained 10 transparent plastic packs which had vegetable like leaves. The vegetable-like leaves were later confirmed to be marijuana by a public analyst at UTH.