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Misonzi Chanthunya guilty

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10 years after the death of his girlfriend Linda Gasa, Misozi Chanthunya was Friday convicted by the High Court in Zomba on three counts of murder, perjury and hindering the burial of a dead body.

Chanthunya had been answering a case of murder after Gasa was killed in 2010 and her remains were exhumed at his Mwala Lodge in Monkebay, Mangochi.

However, the state applied for amendment of the charge sheet to include additional counts of perjury and hindering burial of a dead body.

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In her judgement, Judge Ruth Chinangwa said circumstantial evidence provided by the state indicated that Chanthunya had a hand in the murder of Gasa, who at the time of the death was a student at Malawi College of Accountancy.

Chinangwa observed that Chanthunya failed to convince the court on how the remains of late Gasa were found at his lodge and why he fled the country when investigations on the matter commenced.

In the aftermath of Gasa’s death, Chanthunya fled to South Africa where he was later arrested by Interpol Police and in 2018, Malawi government officials successfully moved the courts that side to have him extradited back home to answer the murder case.

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“The convict was the last person in company of the deceased. The evidence has also indicated that there were attempts to convince the police, who were investigating on the matter, that Gasa left for her homeland in Zimbabwe,” Chinangwa said.

Lead lawyer for the state, Steven Kayuni, prayed to the court to give a stiffer sentence, arguing the offences were very serious.

“Whatever the circumstances are, we pray for a stiffer sentence. This is in line with the fact that Gasa will no longer be alive. Now, the offence of murder is a very serious one,” Kayuni said.

In a separate interview after the court proceedings, Chanthunya’s lawyer, Michael Goba Chipeta, said he has been advised by his client to appeal the matter at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

“We have noted very serious errors that the court has made, which my client has directed me to appeal as soon as the sentence is delivered next week,” Chipeta said.

He added that the court’s logic is also a matter that can be subject to appeal.

The case saw the state parading 11 witnesses, who, among others, included late Gasa’s relation, Jessie Kachale, who told the court in her testimony that prior to the death, Linda had misunderstandings with Chanthunya over a pregnancy.

In his testimony, Pathologist Charles Dzamalala who conducted an autopsy on Gasa’s body, said the primary cause of the death was poisoning and that there were four stab wounds on Gasa’s body tissues.

Meanwhile, Judge Chinangwa has directed that the court should reconvene on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 for sentencing.

She also terminated Chanthunya’s bail which Supreme Court Justice, Dustain Mwaungulu, had given Chanthunya in January, 2019.

Chanthunya is now at Zomba Central Prison,awaiting his fate.

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