The Balaka magistrates court has said that any man, or boy, found to be in a relationship with 16 year olds or those below them finds himself in danger of answering defilement charges.

The court said this when passing sentence to a twenty-one year old choirmaster who was answering defilement charges after he had impregnated his fourteen year old choir member.

The choirmaster had used the defense that he was in the relationship with the girl and, thus, the sexual acts that happened between them were not acts of defilement, or even rape, but acts of love to each other.

The court, however, dismissed the defense grounds of the choirmaster and told him that nobody can be in a relationship with anybody who is under sixteen. The court further said that all girls who are sixteen and below cannot enter into any relationship with anybody and cannot consent to having sex; thus, any act with a sixteen year old is not rape but defilement even if the accused and both the victim agree that they had a mutual understanding to have sex beforehand.

Despite pleading with the court that it was his first time to commit an offence and that he looks after his ageing mother, the Balaka Magistrates court sentenced the accused – Moses Frackshoni – to six years imprisonment with hard labour.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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