By CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI
A 44-YEAR-OLD housewife of Serenje who used to chain her 12-year-old niece to a bed and locking her up in the bedroom has been sentenced to five years imprisonment with hard labour for child assault.
Serenje resident magistrate Fidelis Ngosa last Wednesday sentenced Grace Machango to five years imprisonment with hard labour.
â€œThe evidence is properly coordinated, the accused had no authority to do what she did on a child who is only 12-years-old.Â Mr Ngosa said.
Machango was arrested in March this year after concerned Serenje residents reported her to police that she used to chain Esther Chishala Machango to a bed.
Machango on March 5 this year in Serenje, assaulted Esther and occasioned her actual bodily harm.
Machango pleaded not guilty.
But in her defence, Machango admitted chaining Esther to a bed with two locks to keep her in the house.
Machango told the court that she did not intend to harm Esther but she merely wanted to prevent her from wandering.
In mitigation, Machango said she got Esther from Mufulira to live with her in Serenje because her father was unwell.
Machango said she wanted Esther to be educated and this is why she wanted her to be well-mannered.
â€œI am human and I did what I did ignorantly. I am not perfect. I am a mother of four children and I am a married woman and I am asking for leniency,â€ Machango said
In his judgment, Mr Ngosa said Machango and Esther are related and the girl started staying with her in 2010.
Mr Ngosa, however, said it was inhuman for Machango to resort to chaining Esther to a bed and locking her in the bedroom.
Mr Ngosa said he could not accept Machangoâ€™s defence that she was merely preventing Esther from running away from home.
He said Estherâ€™s testimony corroborated with that of the police, Machangoâ€™s and her husbandâ€˜s Mongo Mushalika.
He also said the medical report revealed that Esther sustained injuries on the legs and hands as a result of being chained to the bed and she had bruises on her back.
Mr Ngosa said Machango gave a free and voluntary statement to the police admitting the charge when she was arrested for child assault.
He also said the prosecution had proved the case against Machango beyond reasonable doubt.
Mr Ngosa observed that Machango is a mother and what she did to her niece was a crime.
â€œThe court notes that you are the first offender and you are entitled to leniency but iyour action exhibited a lot cruelty. You are a woman who is supposed to be a mother but you behaved in a heartless manner,â€ Mr Ngosa said.
By CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI