The high court sitting in Nkhata Bay District has sentenced a 35-year-old Zion Church Pastor to 30 years in prison for raping an 18-year-old church member.
Justice Chimwemwe Kamowa has also sentenced two other men to 30 years imprisonment with hard labour each for committing sexual offences in the district.
The cases were first prosecuted by the Nkhata Bay First Grade Magistrate court before being referred to the high court for decision on sentences.
In the first case, the court heard through state prosecutor Sub Inspector Andrew Singini that the pastor, Chimwemwe Kayuni, 35 of Mwangurukuru Village in Traditional Authority Mwakoboko in Karonga District raped an 18-year-old girl who was a member of his church.
On May 5, 2019, the girl went to the pastor’s house at Mpamba for healing prayers as she was epileptic.
Kayuni raped her outside the house, after the healing prayers. He threatened that the disease would resurface if the victim dared to reveal the ordeal.
The victim kept quiet, but revealed the ordeal when it was realized that she was pregnant.
In the second case, the same prosecutor Andrew Singini, told the court that 36-year-old Mike Banda of Chinombo Village in Traditional Authority M’mbelwa in Mzimba, raped his 17-year-old stepdaughter at Lwazi on November 12, 2021.
The suspect, was caught pants down by the victim’s mother when she came back from her errands.
In the third defilement case, the court heard through prosecutor Sub Inspector Chikondi Lipato that 34-year-old, Russel Banda, of Chiperembe Village in Traditional Authority Malanda in Nkhata Bay District raped a 10-year-old girl, the daughter of his close friend at Chintheche.
The prosecutor narrated in court that on May 1, 2019, during the night, that Russel Banda left the victim’s father at a drinking joint and went to the victim’s house where he broke into the house.
He went into the bedroom where two girls slept and defiled one of the girls.
He was caught pants down by the victim’s mother who got awakened by shouts from the kid’s room.
In submission, state prosecutors in all the three cases prayed for serious sentences as such felonious offences leave indelible scars and trauma on the victims.
In mitigation, the suspects prayed for leniency saying that they were first offenders as well as bread
Passing the sentences in all the three cases, High Court Judge, Justice Chimwemwe Kamowa, said that all the suspects were in a position of protecting the rights of the girls, but they chose to act differently.
She therefore sentenced each of them to 30 years imprisonment with hard labour effective from the date of their arrests.