The Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court has on Tuesday adjourned to Thursday the sentencing of three women from Area 25 who are on trial for assaulting and urinating on a woman in the City.
The court has also decided to conduct a closed-door hearing to get the victim’s side of the story.
The victim (name withheld) could not appear before court initially because she was reportedly not feeling well.
Senior resident magistrate Shyreen Yona agreed to the prosecution’s application to allow the victim narrate her story in chambers saying she was very ashamed to stand before people who have seen her nakedness in a video clip that went viral on social media.
The convicts; Thokozani Msiska, Zelifa Phiri and Rodness Chisale, are seen in the video clip harassing their fellow woman.
They were convicted by Nkukula Magistrate’s Court last week on two counts; first on acts intended to cause grievous harm and secondly on the charge of insulting the modesty of a woman.
Nkukula Magistrate’s Court referred the case to the Senior Magistrate’s Court for sentencing as the first count attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment which is beyond the court’s jurisdiction.
The case has attracted a lot of attention and the courtroom on Monday was too small to accommodate all the people who went there for the hearing.
Many people were seen sitting on the floor of the courtroom with many more peeping through the windows to catch a glimpse of the proceedings.
During the hearing police prosecutor senior assistant commissioner Levison Mangani asked the court to consider giving a stiffer punishment to the convicts to deter other would-be offenders from committing the similar crime.
He said: “We ask this court to give a stiffer punishment, possibly the maximum sentence that this offense attracts to deter others from committing the same offense.”
He also told the court that the victim was subjected to all sorts of abuse for eight hours and that in addition, pictures of her nakedness were sent on the social media by the convicts which are currently
circulating worldwide on the internet.
The prosecutor was joined by Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) deputy director for civil and political rights Peter Mota who said the case is an eye opener to the fact that women can also perpetrate violence against fellow women hence asked for a stiffer punishment to the convicts.
After given a chance to give their mitigation in court, two of the convicts said they both have three children who depend on them while the third convict said she is responsible for the welfare of her four children and her aunt.
The three convicts remain on remand at Maula prison awaiting sentencing in the next two days.