High Court Judge Dorothy Nyakaunda Kamanga will on June 27 sentence all the 12 people convicted of various offences surrounding the death of Macdonald Masambuka, a man with albinism who was killed in April 2018.
The State and defence met in court yesterday to present their sentence submissions ahead of the sentencing, with the State calling for the imposition of maximum sentences and the defence praying for leniency.
Kamanga found five of the accused persons— Maxwell Matchinga Sosola, Dickson Ngengu, Mussa Lilongwe, Alfred Yohane and Masambuka’s brother Cassim White Masambuka— guilty of murder on April 28 this year.
Clinician Lumbani Kamanga, Master Mphulanya Injesi, Lackiness Magombo and Cassim Masambuka were convicted of causing another person to harm a person with a disability while Catholic priest Thomas Muhosha, police officer Chikondi Chileka, Alfred Yohane, Mussa Lilongwe and Innocent Walasi were found guilty of transacting in human tissue, among other charges.
Senior State Advocate Pirirani Masanjala said although the 12 are first offenders, they committed an offence that led to the loss of life.
“The saying that maximum sentences are saved for worst offenders and that worst offenders are not yet born is just a theory. Masambuka’s death was carefully orchestrated, was committed by more than one person and the convicts did not show remorse throughout the trial. Although the offence of murder attracts a maximum sentence of death, we are asking for a life sentence and for the other offences, which attract the maximum sentence of life, we pray for the [imposition of] maximum sentences,” he said.
Masanjala also asked for a maximum sentence of 14 years for those convicted of trafficking in persons.
Defence lawyer, Legal Aid Bureau Director Masauko Chamkakala, maintained that it is a long-standing principle that the maximum sentences are reserved for the worst offenders.
Chamkakala further told the court that the ultimate objective of sentencing is to reform the convict so that they come back better in the society, adding that the convicts cooperated with authorities throughout the trial, which, he said, is a sign of remorse.
Muhosha and two other lawyers were not in court but they were given an audience in person.
Muhosha prayed for mercy from the court, saying he has learned a lot in the four years he has been in prison and he would be going back into the society a changed and mature person.
“Please my Lady, forgive me. I know that I offend the law but I am not a criminal. Give me a sentence of 10 years. You know, in my life, whole life, I did not leave the parish often. I dedicated my life serving the people. I am in this situation because I was tricked by a police officer…” he said before Nyakaunda Kamanga cut him short, advising that she did not want him to say anything that could compromise his appeal if wanted to.