In an effort to bring justice to people accused of murder or manslaughter, trials started in Salima yesterday where 10 accused persons finally got their day in court—some after more than three years on remand.
The trials have been facilitated with financial assistance from Irish Aid for the homicide trials project.
The project came after the donor noticed that cases stalled due to lack of funds to enable the Judiciary to travel to various districts under the jurisdiction of a registry to preside over the cases.
In other cases, the courts have not delivered judgement on 28 murder cases, leaving accused persons on remand for many years.
Among these is the case of Thokozani Banda who has been waiting for judgement since 2009 when he was told that it would be delivered within 21 days, but nine years later he is yet to know his fate.
In one of the cases which took place yesterday, the court found that Bezani Magombo had a case to answer and had to defend himself in the murder of a stepdaughter.
Magombo is charged with the murder of an infant by strangulation, but has been on remand for the past three years in Nkhotakota.
Judge Esmie Chombo, who is presiding over the cases, adjourned this case and two others to a date to be advised later.
Recently, Justice Dorothy NyaKaunda-Kamanga bemoaned delays in delivering justice when she sentenced a woman to serve two and a-half years instead of 18 years after she waited for 17 years for judgement to be delivered.
The homicide trials project is being run alongside the Kanfantayeni Project in which people convicted of murder are being retried to officially commute their sentences from death row to life sentence or acquittal.