Area 24 women appeal sentence


Three Area 24 women who were sentenced to four years imprisonment for assaulting another woman, Bridget Kumchulesi, in October last year have appealed against the sentence at the High Court in Lilongwe.
On December 7 last year, the Magistrates’ Court in Lilongwe sentenced Flora Chinguwo, Norah Chatsika and Gertrude Banda to four years imprisonment each for committing an act intended to cause grievous harm and insulting the modesty of a woman, contrary to sections 235 and 137 of the Penal Code, respectively.
According to a court document dated December 28 2017, which The Daily Times has seen, the three asked the court to set aside the sentence and substitute the same with a fine or community service.
The three argue that, being first offenders and having pleaded guilty, they were entitled to punishment by fine or community service.
“The lower court erred in law in passing a custodial sentence in the circumstances, thus, the appellants entered a guilty plea at an earliest opportunity, [are] first offenders, of young ages [and] had already embarked on reformation process and the fact that our prisons are not reformatory in nature,” reads the document.
They further say the appellants were subjected to summary punishment before trial and, for this, they deserve lenience.
“The sentence against the appellants on plea of guilty was excessive in the circumstances to the first offenders and young offenders who had already embarked on reformation process and that having imposed custodial sentence the learned Magistrate ought to have considered section 339 and 340 of the CP and EC [Criminal Procedures and Evidence Code] Cap 8:01,” adds the document.
Last year, the court also sentenced three women from Area 25 to six years imprisonment each for committing similar offences.

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