By Jonas Nyasulu
The Phalombe Senior Resident Magistrate Court has sentenced 34-year-old Dyton Julius to five years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) for illegal possession of two pieces of raw Ivory.
South East Region police prosecutor Florida Kunyado Dzimbiri told Senior Resident Magistrate Christopher Makumba that Julius was offering for sale two pieces of raw Ivory at Kambenje Trading Centre.
Dzimbiri further told the court that police detectives and officers from the Wildlife Crime Investigation Unit pretended to be potential buyers and apprehended Julius.
Julius was charged with two counts of illegal possession of specimens of listed species and dealing in government trophies, in line with Section 91(1) as read with Section 110(b) (c) of the National Parks and Wildlife Act.
Julius pleaded guilty to charges levelled against him but, in mitigation, pleaded with the court to be lenient on him.
He said he was not the owner of the items, as they belonged to someone who was in Mozambique, adding that he was the breadwinner for his family.
However, Dzimbiri said Julius deserved a stiffer sentence as his actions were detrimental to the tourism industry in the country.
Makumba concurred with the State and ordered that the convict spend five years behind bars.
Julius comes from Masuku Village, Traditional Authority Mkanda, in Mulanje District.
Meanwhile, Department of Parks and Wildlife Director Brighton Kumchedwa has described the jail sentence as a positive development.
Kumchedwa said, according to sentencing guidelines, a minimum sentence one can get for the offence is six years IHL.
“Now this Julius pleaded guilty to the charge and is a first offender. l am sure the magistrate must have taken these facts into consideration,” he said.