Mkukula Magistrate Court in Lilongwe on Wednesday ordered three people to pay fines ranging from K50,000 to K100,000 for being found in possession and offering for sale pirated copies of CDs.
The court, through State prosecutor Inspector Aufi Alli of Lumbadzi Police, heard that, on February 4 2021, Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) inspectors arrested five men who were found in possession and offering for sale pirated copies of CDs.
When the five appeared before the court on February 5, two suspects pleaded guilty and were sent on court bail while three pleaded not guilty and returned to court on February 10 2021.
In his submission, Inspector Alli asked the court to mete out stiffer sentences to the three in order to deter other offenders considering that there is a public outcry particularly from musicians in the country that they are not reaping from their sweat due to piracy.
In their mitigations, the three asked for leniency from the court, saying they are first offenders.
In passing judgement, First Grade Magistrate Thomson Midiasi sentenced the three Mike Chiwanda, Richard Kapasule and Richard Juwawo to pay fines of K100,000 and in default 24 months imprisonment with hard labour, K80,000 or in default or in default 18 months imprisonment with hard labour and K50,000 or in default 12 months imprisonment with hard labour, respectively.
According to Lumbadzi Police Public Relations Officer Sergeant Felix Kwinyani, so far only two convicts have paid their fines and one is remanded at Lumbadzi Police Station while the other two pleaded not guilty and are expected to return to court on March 22 2021.
According to Copyright Act 2016, the offence attracts a maximum penalty of K5 million or in default two years imprisonment with hard labour.