Zomba Senior Resident Magistrate court has convicted a Catholic Priest Father Numeri Mweta for sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl.
The 39-year-old priest of Lisanjala Parish under Zomba Diocese was being accused of abduction, defilement and procuration of the minor.
The court heard that the girl had gone missing for three days before returning to her aunt’s house asking her to plead with her (the girl) parents for forgiveness. She revealed that all the days she was missing she had been with the Roman Catholic priest.
The court also heard that the priest offered the victim’s father a bundle of K2000 banknotes so that the victimized family withdraws the case.
The girl told the court that she and the priest have been in love affair and that the relationship started in July 2018.
She told the court how the priest had rented her a house at Liwonde and later moved her to Balaka and Lilongwe then back to Zomba because she was pregnant and wanted her to be close to her parent’s home.
On his say, the accused told the court that he was convinced that the girl was old enough for a relationship as her national ID card showed she was born on January 4 in 2001 which was contrary to a birth date indicated on her birth certificate as born on January 4, 2003.
However, Magistrate Michongwe ruled that the accused is guilty.
The Prosecuting officer, Patrick Chambuluka asked the court to impose a stiff punishment to the accused saying that him as a priest was supposed to be preaching about child protection.
But Mweta’s lawyer Timonthy Chirwa in mitigation pleaded with the court to sentence the accused as any other person since everybody is equal before the law.
The judgment is due to pass today, Wednesday March 13 2019.