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Cancer detecting gadget bandits jailed 9 years

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The Balaka Second Grade Magistrate Court has convicted and sentenced Geoffrey Chinyama and Laiton Juma to nine years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) for being found guilty of theft of a cancer-detecting gadget, contrary to section 282 of the Penal Code.

State Prosecutor, Sub Inspector Ellias Chitsulo, told the court that Balaka Police received information that Dr Briony Acroyd’s portable ultra-sound machine, which is used to diagnose breast cancer, was stolen from a car on February 5 2018 when the medical expert was travelling to Mangochi to attend to patients showing signs of cancer.

Chitsulo said, on February 11, a team of detectives from Ulongwe Police received a tip that someone was keeping a laptop and, in the course of following up, the officers arrested Chinyama and Juma and managed to recover the ultra sound machine on the same day.

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Chinyama and Juma were convicted on their own plea of guilty.

Chitsulo asked the court to mete out a stiff sentence considering circumstances in which the crime was committed.

“They came as well-wishers and were paid $100 for helping the doctor out of the mud but they were so ungrateful that their act painted a very bad picture of Malawians. The offence is very serious and the machine stolen might have been used to save someone’s life,” Chitsulo said.

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In mitigation, the two said they are breadwinners; hence, they asked the court to be soft on them.

But Second Grade Magistrate Victor Sibu concurred with the State, and sentenced the convicts to nine years IHL to deter would-be-offenders.

Chinyama, 31, and Juma, 22, are from Nsaliwa Village, Traditional Authority Kalembo in Balaka District.

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