PRISCILLA CHIPULU, Lusaka
THE Lusaka High Court has sentenced a bus driver who ran over a female traffic police officer in February last year to eight years imprisonment with hard labour.
Particulars of the matter are that on February 27, 2016 around 10:00 hours, sergeant Marjory Moyo was on duty at a check-point at Marshlands on Great East Road in Lusaka when a Toyota Hiace minibus registration ALJ 7248, which was driven by Steven Phiri, ran over her.
The incident happened when Ms Moyo asked Phiri to produce a driver’s licence while standing in front of the bus, but Phiri refused and sped the vehicle towards her in an attempt to escape but ended up running over the officer.
Ms Moyo, who was dragged under the bus for some distance, sustained serious injuries and was rushed to Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital, where she was admitted before being evacuated to South Africa for specialised treatment.
Delivering judgment yesterday, High Court judge Mwape Bowa said the statement of facts revealed that the victim was a police officer who was dully performing her duties at a check-point at the time of the incident.
He said Phiri disregarded Ms Moyo’s lawful instructions to produce the driver’s licence and, in his haste to escape, hit into the officer, ran over her and dragged her body under the vehicle.
“She has sustained permanent disfigurement from your senseless conduct. I have learnt that you are the first offender and you have readily admitted the charge.
“You have not wasted the court’s time and you have also admitted that you are remorseful for your action. The offence you have been convicted of attracts a sentence of up to life imprisonment,” he said.
Judge Bowa, however, said the courts have the responsibility to step in and hand down appropriate sentences not only to punish wrong-doers but to also send out a strong and clear message that offences of this nature attract stiff sanctions.
Phiri was charged with one count of acts intended to cause grievous bodily harm or prevent lawful acts.