MUBANGA NONDO, Ndola
NDOLA High Court judge Petronella Ngulube has noted the sky-rocketing cases of gender based violence (GBV) in the country and said the courts have the duty to mete out stiff punishmen to perpetrators.
Justice Ngulube said this when she handed a 10-year prison sentence with hard labour on Bright Bwalya of Bwacha village in Luwingu for strangling his wife, Eli Chibale, to death.
This is in a case in which Bwalya, 35, pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
In passing the sentence, Ms Ngulube, who sat in Kasama recently, observed that there were aggravating factors and Ms Chibale suffered severe injuries apart from strangulation.
â€œI have considered the mitigation on behalf of the accused by the defence. However, I have had sight of the post-mortem report which indicates that the deceased suffered severe injuries, apart from the fact that she was strangled to her death.
â€œI therefore sentence the accused to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour with effect from March 16, 2013, being the date of your arrest,â€ Ms Ngulube said.
She also noted that cases of GBV were on the increase and that the courts had a duty to mete out deterrent sentences to curb the rise of the vice.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Keith Katazo asked the court to exercise leniency on Bwalya as he was remorseful having caused his wifeâ€™s death and this would haunt him for life.
Facts before court were that on March 10 last year around 21.00 hours, Bwalya and his wife returned home from drinking beer and picked a quarrel which led to a scuffle.
During the scuffle, the court heard Bwalya overpowered his wife who he held by the neck until she was unconscious.
But when Bwalya woke up around 05:00 hours the following day, he realised his wife was not in bed with him and rushed outside and found her where he had left her the previous night.
He tried to wake the her up but she was non-responsive.
Bwalya alerted his mother who inspected the body and told him that his wife had died.
The matter was later reported to Luwingu Police Station.
The court learnt that the cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation, the facts read in part.
MUBANGA NONDO, Ndola