The Blantyre Magistrate Court has adjourned to today a case involving an alleged child trafficker, 40-year-old Mateyu Kuchepa from Mangochi, so that he should get legal representation.
Kuchepa is answering nine charges of child trafficking following his arrest at Wenela Bus Depot in Blantyre on Wednesday when he allegedly, together with his unidentified friend who is currently on the run, wanted to take 21 children from Mozambique to work in a tobacco field in Mangochi.
The court is charging Kuchepa with nine counts for nine children as 12 of them did not qualify to be part of the case as they are above 16 years old; hence, they are defined as adults by the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi.
He has since pleaded not guilty to all the nine charges.
Presiding over the case yesterday, senior resident magistrate Viva Nyimba said a child trafficking charge is not an ordinary one as the maximum sentence life imprisonment and it will only be right for Kuchepa to have legal representation.
The court gave Kuchepa two options which are to hire a private lawyer or to let the court help him have a lawyer from the Legal Aid Bureau or if it fails, from the Malawi Law Society (MLS) on pro bono basis, to which the accused opted for the former.
However, State prosecutor Moja Phiri asked for a speedy trial, saying the children are being kept at Chisomo Orphanage on charity basis.