Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Man sentenced to 30-day community service for damaging slot machine

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A 28-year-old man of Kapiri Mposhi has been sentenced to 30-day community service or six month imprisonment in default for willfully damaging a game slot machine commonly known as Bonanza after losing his K 15 bet.

Before Kapiri Mposhi Magistrate, Jammy Mukumbi was Bright Mwenda of Ndeke Compound charged with one count of willful Malicious Damage to Property contrary to section 335 (1) of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.

Facts are that Mwenda, on 19 November 2022 around 22:00 hours willfully damaged a Bonanza machine at Central Bar valued at K 7,000 the property of Obby Mwila by punching its screen using his fists after losing his K 15 stake on the bet.

In this matter Mwenda pleaded not guilty to the offence prompting the case to go for trial where the prosecution called three witnesses among them the complainant, Obby Mwila and bar tender, Cliford Kunda and constable Humphrey Simba, an arresting Zambia Police officer.

In his evidence to the court, PW1, Obby Mwila narrated how he was called by the bar tender around 22:00 hours that someone had damaged the machine after punching on its screen and that it had a broken glass and had stopped working.

PW 2 was the bar tender, Cliford Kunda who told the court how Mwenda got frustrated and punched the glass interface of the Bonanza machine after losing a game where he had slotted K 15 one kwacha coins.

Mwenda was found guilty and asked the owner of the Bonanza machine for forgiveness stating that he had learnt a lesson from the period he had been kept in police custody.

In passing judgement, Magistrate Mukumbi noted that the state had demonstrated that Mwenda had malice afford thought as he was aware of the probable consequence of his action and had the requisite state of mind blameworthy at commission of the crime.

However, Magistrate Mukumbi decided to consider the offence as a misdemeanor and not a felony.

This is because the prosecution were uncertain and failed to provide information on the repair of the machine adding that the K 7000 property worth presented to the court was excessive as it was a replacement value of the machine not for damages.

According to the legal proviso, where the damage to property is in excess K 5000 one has committed a felony and is liable to imprisonment for not less than five years and not more than 12 years while one is liable to up-to two years imprisonment if the offence is a misdemeanor.

” It is established here that the accused willfully and unlawfully damaged the property but I will sentence him as though he had committed a misdemeanor and I impose a 30 day community service or six month in default imprisonment with hard labour.

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