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Cop convicted for July 20 killing

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The High Court in Lilongwe has convicted a police officer for killing a Lilongwe-based resident in the violence that erupted during July 20, 2011 anti-government demonstrations.

Constable Stewart Lobo was answering the charge of murdering George Thekere in Chilinde Township on the second day of the demonstrations.

Judge Fiona Mwale delivered the judgement on Tuesday.

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Mwale said she carefully analysed evidence brought before her through four witnesses.

In the judgment, Mwale concludes that Lobo was liable for the death of Thekere even though the target was a young man called John Mpambiche.

“I find the accused person, No. A7197 Constable Stewart Lobo, guilty of the offence of murder of George Thekere on 21 July 2011 and accordingly convict him of the offence.

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“Bail is to be revoked forthwith and he is to be remand  in custody forthwith. Counsels are to agree on the date for pre-sentencing hearing and the matter is adjourned to a date to be fixed for sentencing,” Mwale said.

Lobo, who was working at Kawale Police Station, was found with a case to answer in May 2015.

He was arrested in May 2013, alongside three others: Sub-Inspector Kamwala (then working at Lumbadzi Police Station), Sergeant Makokezi (then working at Police Mobile Service C Company in Lilongwe) and Sergeant Ian Kanyama (then working at Mchinji Police).

The arrests of the four preceded five other arrests which were made in the Southern Region.

Lawyers from the Legal Aid Department have been representing him, while lawyer Tione Namanja, from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) chambers has been representing the state.

“We have just done our part. People have been expecting conclusion of the matter,” Namanja said.

Lawyer Clemence Chamwenda from the Legal Aid Department, who is now representing Lobo, and Namanja have said the case will reconvene on October 14, for pre-sentencing hearing.

Twenty people died during July 20, 2011 protests.

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