The Magistrate’s Court in Chikwawa has handed a 31-year-old woman 12 months imprisonment with hard labour for dumping her newly born baby into a toilet.

Chikwawa Police public relations officer, Constable Foster Benjamin said Selina Joseph was found guilty on Thursday in a case she stood accused of abandoning her child at birth, contrary to Section 232 of the Penal code.

Police Prosecutor Inspector Helix Kamkweche stated in court that Joseph, on 31 May, at Migano Village under Traditional Authority Katunga in the district, conceived a baby boy and later dumped him in a pit latrine.

“When a neighbour, Kinwasi Patrick, visited the toilet for a natural call, he heard a baby crying from the latrine.

“With the help of other villagers, he managed to rescue the child before informing members of the community policing who apprehended the suspected mother and brought her to the police,” explained Kamkweche.

During her trial, Joseph admitted the charge, saying she didn’t know that she had delivered and further argued that the baby had accidentally slipped into the toilet at a time she was answering a call of nature.

In his submission, Prosecutor Kamkweche asked the court to impose a harsh sentence on the accused, saying she had acted irresponsibly and inhumane as the life of an innocent child could have been lost.

Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Gladstone Chirundu shared the state’s argument and observed that such cases were on the rise in the district.

The magistrate went ahead unleashing a 12-month-prison term to Selina Joseph as a deterrent to other would-be offenders.

 

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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