Karonga First Grade Magistrate Court has convictedand sentenced 28- year-old man to four years imprisonment with hard labour for ransacking Karonga District Forestry Office during demonstrations.

The teachers conducted nationwide demonstrations in January this year, to force government to pay teachers who did not get their 2019 December salaries after they failed to producenational identification details.

The court heard from State Prosecutor Alfred Chidzere that on January 22, 2020, John Jere broke into Karonga Forestry Office and stole a computer monitor and three watering cans when teachers, accompanied by pupils, were protesting.

Jere pleaded not guilty to the charge leveled against him prompting the state to parade two witnesses to prove the allegation.

He was found guilty of breaking into a building and committing a felony therein contrary to Section 311 (a) of the Penal Code.

During the court hearing, Chidzere told the court theoffence attracts a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment.

He argued that the man took advantage of the demonstrations that were organised by teachers in the district to commit the offence.In his mitigation, Jere asked the court to forgive him, saying he is a sick person and looks after his grandmother.

Before giving judgment, First Grade Magistrate Julius Kalambo concurred with state that during demonstrations,people take advantage to steal, thereby turning peaceful protests into violence.

He then sentenced Jere to four years imprisonmentwith hard labour to deter other would-be offenders from committing the same.John Jere hails from Nang’ona Village in Traditional Authority Nsabwe in Thyolo District.

Source : MANA

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