The Chikwawa First Grade Magistrate’s Court has sentenced a 30-year old tavern owner to pay a K 35,000 fine or serve 12 months in prison for noise pollution.

Mary Mwaipape was on Wednesday found guilty of common nuisance.

The offence, which contravenes Section 168 of the Penal code, attracts a maximum 12-month sentence in jail.

Police arrested the convict in the wee hours of Wednesday and charged her with common nuisance, a charge she admitted.

State Prosecutor Sub Inspector Danford Otala told the court that Mwaipape’s business disturbed residents around Chikwawa boma because loud music would be played into the early hours of the morning.

“People around the tavern, including those in Mbenderana village, have long been complaining about the conduct of the business of the accused. While it is her right to do business, but she may not do so to the extent of infringing on the right of others; hence the need to give her a meaningful sentence,” explained Otala.

Mwaipape, however, asked the court to forgive her since she didn’t know that playing loud music at odd hours was a crime.

First Grade Magistrate Gladstone Chirundu said the convict’s business did not cause anguish not only to residents but also to patients at Chikwawa District Hospital.

Chirundu further ordered Mwaipape to pay a fine of K35,000 or in default serve 12 months in prison.

He said the sentence would send a strong message to other tavern owners in the area who operate their businesses at the expense of others.

Mwaipape, who comes from Mbenderana village under Traditional Authority Kasisi in Chikwawa District, has since paid the fine to escape the jail term.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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