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KITWE High Court Judge Isaac Chali has sentenced two 23-year-old men to death, one for murdering a cyclist and the other for killing a man who tried to recover his sister’s stolen cellphone.
Nicholas Bwalya Mwabuka, who appeared to be deranged at the time, was charged with murdering Edward Mulenga in Kitwe on August 4, 2011. Mwabuka struck his victim on the head with a piece of wood, while walking around naked.
Mwabuka had pleaded insanity during trial but he was sent for expert examination and certified fit to stand trial.
Slapping the sentence on the convict, Mr Justice Chali said: “I have considered the facts of the case and I don’t find any extenuating circumstances. I hereby sentence the offender to death and I direct that he shall be hanged by the neck until he is pronounced dead.
He said Mwabuka’s conduct of striking Mr Mulenga with a piece of wood without any lawful excuse was an unlawful act laced with malice.
“I, therefore, find that the prosecution has proved the case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt. In the circumstances, I find the accused guilty of the murder of Edward Mulenga and I convict him accordingly,” Mr Justice Chali said.
Evidence before the court was that on August 4, 2011 around 06:35 hours, a police officer, Seargent Choobe Choobe, was on duty at Mindolo police station.
Mr Choobe saw a naked man holding a piece of wood near a road. The court heard that within a few seconds, Mr Choobe observed the naked man striking a cyclist with a piece of wood, killing him instantly.
Mr Choobe told the court that he immediately got a firearm from his colleague in the inquiries office and rushed to Mr Mulenga’s rescue and as he was approaching the scene, Mwabuka ran away. Mr Choobe also said he fired a warning shot.
Mr Choobe later apprehended Mwabuka with the help of members of the public and took him to Mindolo Police Station, where he was detained.
And the Kitwe High Court has sentenced a Nixon Kalumba of Kitwe’s Mulenga township to death by hanging. Mr Justice Chali sentenced Kalumba for murdering Tana Chisopo, contrary to section 200 Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
Passing judgment, Mr Justice Chali said Kalumba’s conduct towards Mr Chisopo and his sisters was unprovoked.
“The offender was hell-bent on stealing the cellphone and went ahead to prevent it from being retrieved by Mr Chisopo. Honestly, I do not find any extenuating circumstances in that kind of conduct. Although the offender is a young person in his mid-twenties, I do not find that factor in itself to be an extenuating circumstance.”
“In the circumstances, I have no option but to sentence the offender to death. I direct that the offender shall be hanged by the neck until pronounced dead,” Mr Justice Chali said.
Mr Justice Chali said Kalumba’s action to strike and wound Mr Chisopo in the manner he did was an unlawful act and that the assailant knew that the act of striking Mr Chisopo with whatever weapon would cause grievous bodily harm.
Particulars of the offence are that Kalumba on August 8, 2010 in Kitwe did murder Mr Chisopo at about 02:00 hours.
The victim was in the company of his sister Linda Chisopo, his other sister Mary Kabamba and a friend only identified as Sylvia when suddenly a group of people started chasing them.
They were returning home in Mulenga township from a social function at JJ Bar in Luangwa township. Linda Chisopo told the court that one person from the group, whom she identified as Nixon, caught up with her and twisted her arm, as he attempted to get her cellphone.
A struggle ensued between Kalumba and Ms Chisopo while she shouted for help before her sister Mary and Mr Chisopo ran home to call for help.
The court heard that by the time Ms Chisopo’s mother arrived at the scene, Kalumba had snatched the cellphone but Tana Chisopo caught up with him.
Mr Chisopo started struggling with Kalumba and in the process, the assailant got an object from his pocket and stabbed the victim.
Ms Chisopo told the court that her brother fell to the ground, bleeding heavily from the wounds he had sustained. She rushed him to Kitwe Central Hospital (KCH) where he was pronounced dead on arrival.