Dowa woman jailed 20 months for possessing dead baby

By Brino Mwale

A 40-year-old woman Esnart Yusuf who was arrested in Dowa district for being found in possession of a dead baby has been convicted and sentenced to 20 months Imprisonment with Hard Labour (IHL).

Dowa First Grade Magistrate Court convicted Yusuf of Besela Village in Traditional Authority Msakambewa in the district after her own plea of guilty for unlawfully exhuming a human corpse, contrary to Section 131(B) of the Penal Code.

She was arrested after a tip-off that she was faking the pregnancy.

Upon further interrogation, the accused confessed that she had exhumed the dead body of a still baby boy at a graveyard belonging to Dowa District Hospital.

The police, in the company of the health personnel visited the scene where the dead body was exhumed and reburied it.

Appearing in court, the accused pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read out to her.
She asked the court to give her a lenient sentence, saying she was the first offender and vowed never to do that again.

State prosecutor, Sub Inspector Sam Chimkombero, asked the court to give the accused a stiff punishment to deter other would be offenders who may wish to commit a similar offence.

Passing judgment, His Worship First Grade Magistrate, Amran Phiri concurred with the state prosecutor and sentenced the accused to 20 months Imprisonment with Hard Labour starting from the day of arrest which was Sunday, 25th February, 2018.

Magistrate Phiri said since the suspect was first offender and did not give any problems in the case she was answering to and pleaded guilty in her own plea, she deserved the given sentence of 20 months IHL.

According to the state prosecutor Sub Inspector Sam Chimkombero, the section quoted is the new Penal Code which is not yet out but operational following its amendment in 2016 in the Witchcraft Act by Members of Parliament

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