Second Grade Magistrate Court at Mkukula in Dowa District on Friday sentenced 19 year old Ibrahim Mbalaka to 13 months imprisonment with hard labour for stealing a riot gun.
Mbalaka committed the offence on August 6, 2019 in Lilongwe during demonstrations organised by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) aimed at forcing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah to resign.
According to Second Grade Magistrate Thom Midiasi, the suspect could have been given a suspended sentence considering his age and that he is first offender.
However, the court observed that Mbalaka compromised national security by keeping the riot gun, hence the decision to settle for a 13 month custodial sentence to send a warning to others who may have similar thoughts.
Central Region Police Deputy Public Relations Officer, Patrick Kasaula said the incident occurred on a day when demonstrations got out of hand which resulted in chaos.
‚ÄúThe demonstrators became violent and in the process people started attacking police officers. The accused and others stole some riot guns from the police armoured vehicle before setting the said vehicle ablaze,‚ÄĚ he explained.
Kasauka further said investigations were instituted which led to the arrest of Mbalaka who was found in possession of the gun at his home at Chipasula in Lilongwe on August 8, 2019.
Mbalaka was charged with theft in line with Section 278 of the Penal Code.
Ibrahim Mbalaka hails from Magombo Village in Traditional Authority Chakhumbira in Ntcheu District.
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