8 granted bail in Mzuzu woman assault case
Mzuzu Senior Magistrate’s Court has granted bail to eight suspects who were arrested for allegedly assaulting and insulting the modesty of a woman in Mzuzu.
The court, through Senior Resident Magistrate, Patrick Kamisa, ordered the suspects to pay K100, 000 each as surety and K200, 000 non-cash surety.
The suspects have also been ordered to surrender their travel documents and report to Mzuzu Police every Friday.
The case has been adjourned to February 25 and 26 2020 for full trial.
The State, which was being represented by Joseph Nambiri, asked the court not to grant the suspects bail, fearing they would interfere with their witnesses.
“We objected that they should not be given bail because we are not through with our investigations. However, the court has said there is no risk that they can interfere with our witnesses,” he said.
He said the State would finalise investigations after a week.
Lawyer of the accused, Victor Gondwe, said the court has made a proper decision arguing there was no justification of having his clients continue being in detention.
“The court had to act on what is contained in the law and not what is on social media. Legally, they have a right and we are happy that justice has prevailed,” he said.
The case attracted huge attention in the city as the court was jam-packed.
The accused include a couple and a well-known business lady in Mzuzu, Miness Ng’oma, and five other women who allegedly beat up and stripped half-naked a woman before posting pictures of the victim on social media.
The wife and her husband, together with the other women, are accused of harassing the lady claiming she wanted to mess up their marriage by trying to flirt with the man in Mzuzu.
The suspects—Mines Ng’oma, Lucky Gondwe, Taonga Nyangu, Martha Kawonga, Lucia Matupi, Eunice Chirwa, Chikondi Chirwa and Sabina Chirwa- -are answering charges of indecent assault on females contrary to section 137 (1) of the Penal Code and unlawful use of internet contrary to section 91 of the Electronic Transactions and Cyber Security Act of 2016.
The suspects were arrested after a video clip on social media showed a wife and husband harassing and roughing up a woman they suspect was trying to flirt with the man.
A similar incident occurred in Blantyre where a woman who wore a mini-skirt, was stripped naked by a group of men. Blantyre Police have since arrested two suspects.
The two incidents have sent social media abuzz and attracted public condemnation from non-governmental organisations such as Family Rights, Elderly and Child Protection through its Executive Director Esmie Tembenu.
“The conduct is very inhuman, degrading, demeaning and unacceptable in a democratic society like Malawi. These men also indecently assaulted a woman, sexually harassed her, insulted the modesty of the woman, and attempted to rape the victim among other offences including verbal insults,” Tembenu said in a statement.
“We would further want to tell Malawians that the Malawi law provides for the right to freedom of dressing,” she said.