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Malawi court refuses to quash defilement case

BLANTYRE (MaraviPost) — First Grade Magistrate Esmie Tembenu on Tuesday declined to withdraw a defilement case after being moved by the complainant.

Tembenu reminded the complainant about the consequences of defilement which she said could lead to trauma, contraction of HIV/Aids, terminal illness and even death of the victim.

Facts of the case are that a 13-year-old boy in Bangwe, Blantyre on 26th July 2014 defiled a six-year-old girl.

When the mother of the girl cooked nsima and told her to go and eat with the boy, she refused saying she feared that the boy would defile her as he had done before.

The mother of the girl then reported the matter to police and the boy was arrested and he admitted to defiling the girl.

Weeks later, the mother of the girl went to court to withdraw the case saying she had forgiven the boy because the families (of the accused and complainant) are neighbours, of Tumbuka tribe and come from the same region: North.

But Tembenu refused to close the case wondering “how can a biological mother have the courage to come to court just to close a case in which her own daughter is a victim? Can a reasonable child-friendly court allow a withdrawal just because the parties are neighbours and from one tribe?”

The magistrate disclosed that within three weeks, three women have come to the court to apply for closure of defilement cases involving their daughters.

“This is because most parents opt to settle cases of their defiled daughters out of court because of nothing but material gains,” said the magistrate.

She told the complainant that the law does not allow parents to close cases because they are merely witnesses as the cases are between the state and the accused.

She then proposed that such cases should only be withdrawn with consent from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

“We would further propose that mothers of this type (who decide to close defilement cases) must be punished by the law,” said Tembenu. After the ruling, prosecutor Joseph Tsokalawo proceeded with the case.

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