A man suspected of defiling a 15-year-old imbecile girl in Namasalima Village, Traditional Authority Mkanda in Mulanje on March 2 has been denied bail by Phalombe Magistrate’s Court.
During a hearing on Tuesday, magistrate Felix Mandala said that the suspect Wilson Matope, 36, who comes from Basale Village, T/A Mkanda in Mulanje could not be granted bail ahead of the second court hearing on April 17 to deter the would-be offenders from attempting to commit the crime.
“Defilement and rape cases seem to be rampant in Mulanje and Phalombe nowadays. I feel that denying bail to suspects of such crimes would help to deter would-be offenders from committing these crimes.
“Additionally, the accusations levelled against the accused by the witnesses seem too heavy for a bail consideration,” said the magistrate after the suspect asked for bail.
Three State witnesses—the young girl, her friend and her mother— told the court that the suspect allegedly chased the girl and her two friends at a forest near their home village where they had gone to fetch firewood, but he only grabbed and defiled the victim.
A non-governmental organisation Story Workshop brought to the forefront the defilement case and made concrete steps to follow the issue, which was not seriously pursued and was left to decompose in the village, according to the organisation’s monitoring and evaluation manager Ambele Kayuni Gogwe.
“We learned about this issue during one of our sensitisation meetings on good governance and human rights recently. There are so many similar offences committed in many parts of Mulanje and Phalombe, but they are left untracked because many villagers are not aware of the procedures to follow when faced with such problems,” she said.
According to Section 137 of the Penal Code, defilement is a serious offence that attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.