Mzimba North District Child Protection Committee (DCPC) has faulted the Mzuzu Senior Resident Magistrate (SRM) Court for acquitting two Indian nationals, Dineshawar Mahto, 50 and Kisish Kumar, 24 who were answering defilement charges.
The two Indian nationals were reported to have abducted and defiled two 14 and 15 year -old girls in March 2018 at Chigwere in Mzuzu City.
The committee, sitting on Thursday in preparation for this year’s Day of African Child Commemorations, felt let down by the court’s verdict considering that medical reports indicated that the girls were defiled.
On June 26, 2018, Mzuzu SRM, Peter Kandulu acquitted the accused persons on grounds that the state had failed to provide evidence to prove that the accused committed the offence.
“…with that, the accused persons are acquitted without any condition and their passports must be restored to them…,” he said when he delivered the judgement in the open court.
Chairperson for the DCPC, Evans Mwale said the judgement has left many unanswered questions on whether there is any progress in the fighting against child abuse in the country.
“As a committee, we will sit down and discuss the way forward because it will not be right to be commemorating the Day of the African Child when in actual sense children rights continue being violated.
“Shortly, we will be commemorating the Day of the African Child and the minors who were defiled also happen to be within our jurisdiction, we cannot be sitting idle and watching without taking necessary action to protect these girls,” he pointed out.
Mzimba North District Social Welfare Officer, Edward Chisanga said he was equally shocked to learn of the acquittal of the two suspects despite his office having reliable evidence that the girls were indeed abducted and defiled.
He explained that as much as the courts are better placed to make a verdict and felt that the case should have been heard at the Child Justice Court.
“The case was heard at a magistrate court and this might have contributed to the determination of the outcome of the case as the girls might have felt out of place,” Chisanga said.
The case since was full of controversies since it commenced as during a particular court sitting while the case was in progress, it was reported by the state that the two Indians had allegedly visited the families of the victims to offer a settlement for the withdrawal of the case.
State prosecutor, Christon Ghambi told the court that the suspects asked a guardian of one of the defiled girls to withdraw the case pledging to provide scholarships for the girls to study in India.