Lilongwe First Grade Magistrate Court on Friday convicted and sentenced a 27-year-old Yamikani Peter to 36 months in prison with hard labour for breaking into a house and stealing a refrigerator.

According to Central Region Police Spokesperson, Kingsley Dandaula, the offender has been charged for breaking into a building and committing a felony, which is contrary to Section 311(a) of the Penal Code.

He said the accused was arrested in relation to the fracas of February 4, 2020 where some people within Lilongwe City attacked Burundi nationals on allegations that they are killing Malawians.

“The accused and his accomplices attacked a shop belonging to Mike John Brown, a Burundi National at Kaphiri Location.

“They stole a refrigerator full of assorted soft drinks valued at K300, 000 and sold it at a price of K60 000.00, Dandaula said.

He said Brown lodged a complaint at Central Region Police Headquarters Criminal Investigations Department where after investigations, the suspect was arrested and the refrigerator recovered.

Appearing before the Lilongwe First Grade Magistrate Court, the accused, Peter, denied the charges levelled against him. The state paraded three witnesses to prove the charge.

In submission, State Prosecutor Sub-Inspector Patrick Dickson Chipote told the court the accused, though he was first offender, deserved no mercy considering the gravity of the offence as per Section 311(a) of the Penal Code which attracts a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment with hard labour.

He further said it was now a trend in Malawi that people resort to violence in the name of demonstrations, which leads to looting and damaging innocent peoples property.

Chipote said the situation results into a state of lawlessness as if there are no law enforcement agencies in the country.

He, therefore, asked the court to impose a stiffer sentence on the accused to deter such kind of demonstrations.

In mitigation, the accused asked the court to be lenient since he is young and committed the offence out of ignorance and that he looks after his wife and child.

Before giving the judgment, First Grade Magistrate Robert Botha concurred with the state, saying the offender had to be removed from the society with a custodial sentencing as befitting.

Botha further concurred with the prosecutor on the state of demonstrations in Malawi that indeed, it is now a trend to loot and steal during demonstrations and that the situation the offender was in, was not by mistake but his choice.

Yamikani Peter hails from Livalo Village in Traditional Authority Makwangwala in Ntcheu.

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