Dedza First Grade Magistrate Court has slapped Emmanuel Geoffrey with a 12 months jail term for carrying passengers in a goods vehicle in a manner that endangered their lives.
Dedza police confirmed about the sentence and referred it as a remarkable development that will set a precedent to other would be offenders.
According to the police, the sentence would at least teach drivers who deliberately contravene traffic laws and which would also help reduce avoidable road accidents in the district.
The court through the state prosecutor, Inspector John J. Chigundo heard that on October 29, 2018, Emmanuel Godfrey was found at Jere village along Ntcheu-Dedza M1 road driving a motor vehicle registration number BV 7476 Toyota Dyna Lorry, while carrying 27 passengers being carried on top of bags of fertilizer and fire wood.
He was charged with endangering the safety of those who were in the vehicle as passengers contravening section 237 (e) of penal code.
In court Godfrey pleaded guilty to the charge leveled against him. In mitigation he requested the court to exercise leniency on him considering that he was first offender and also that he has children and relatives he takes care of.
However, Chigundu objected to Godfrey’s request citing that such cases are increasing daily and one of the ways to deal with such cases is by giving perpetrators stiff sentences for others to learn a lesson.
Chigundo further told the court that imposition of fines to such offences gives drivers liberty of committing the same as they know that once caught they will pay the fine. As such, chigundo requested the court to give Godfrey a stiff sentence so that it would be a lesson to other drivers who usually commit such offences having it in their mind that a fine would set them free.
Dedza First Grade Magistrate, Anthony Banda concurred with state after looking at the circumstances of most road accidents the district has had recently.
Anthony Banda slapped Emmanuel Godfrey with 12 months imprisonment with hard labour without an option of a fine.
So far Dedza police has registered 84 accident from January to October 31, 2018 where 63 people lost their lives.
Emmanuel Godfrey 30, hails from Nampala village in the area of traditional authority Kaphuka in Dedza.
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