Court News

Kitwe High Court throws out application in assault case

By MWILA NTAMBI
THE Kitwe High Court has thrown out an application for a retrial by lawyers representing a man of Kitwe convicted of assault on a child.
This is in a case in which Wilfred Mwansa was convicted of assault on a child on his own unequivocal plea of guilty in the subordinate court.
The subordinate court committed Mwansa to the High Court for confirmation of the conviction and sentencing.
But when the matter came up for sentencing a fortnight ago, Mwansa’s lawyer Victor Michelo asked the court to order a retrial in the case because of alleged miscarriage of justice  during plea.
Mr Michelo submitted that the trial court did not fully explain the form of assault Mwansa was charged with and the Section of the law under which he was indicted entailed a form of aggravated assault.
Mr Michelo argued that Mwansa admitted the charge because he thought he was pleading guilty to common assault.
But State advocate Katongo Waluzimba submitted that the case should only be referred to the lower court for retrial if the High Court established that Mwansa’s plea of guilty was equivocal.
Mr Waluzimba submitted that from the record of proceedings in the lower court, it is clear that Mwansa’s plea was unequivocal and that both the charge and the facts were thoroughly explained to him in Bemba which he understood very well.
In his ruling last week, Kitwe High Court Judge Dominic Sichinga agreed with the State’s submission that Mwansa’s plea was unequivocal.
“I therefore decline to order a retrial in the matter. I have proceeded to consider your mitigation that you are a first offender,” Mr Justice Sichinga said.
He sentenced Mwansa to five years imprisonment with hard labour.

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