High Court Judge Agnes Patemba has extended defilement case sentences of five convicts from a total 57 years to 134 years imprisonment after reviewing files heard before the Nsanje First Grade Magistrate’s Court.
Minister of Gender, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati, Youth Net and Counselling (Yoneco) and Women Legal Resources Centre (Wolrec) have all commended the development, saying it will deter people from committing the offence.
Among others, Patemba reviewed two case files number 2/2021 and 21/2021 between the Republic and Joseph Chiwaya as well as Lawrence Ching’oma who were sentenced by the lower court to nine and 14 years imprisonment respectively, and extended them to 35 years imprisonment each.
The judge also extended sentences for Uncle Fombe from 10 to 24 years, James Luciano from 14 to 28 years and Fashion John from 10 to 12 years imprisonment.
High Court and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal registrar Gladys Gondwe yesterday confirmed the new sentences, but declined to provide further details.
In an interview yesterday, Kaliati commended Patemba for extending the sentences, saying the stiffer punishments may deter others.
She said: “May God bless her in a special way. It is heartbreaking to hear cases of defilement almost daily. We look forward to seeing each and every defilement case taken to court immediately.”
On his part, Yoneco executive director McBain Mkandawire said if given an opportunity he would commit all defilers to life imprisonment.
He said: “But still 35 years is a stiff punishment. We would want to see more years on that because the victims suffer a lot of psychological issues, among others.”
Wolrec executive director Maggie Kathewera Banda also commended the extention of the sentences, saying stiffer sentences for defilement crimes are what her organisation has been advocating for.