The Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court in Limbe has convicted and ordered Erick Chimpini, 26, and twelve others to pay K5,000 fine each for not wearing face masks in public.

The 13 were arrested on Wednesday at Chigodi Roadblock at Kachere Township along Limbe-Zomba road and were convicted on Thursday.

Sub Inspector Lewis Pharaoh, a prosecutor based at Limbe Police Station, told the court that police officers were working at the said roadblock where the 13 accused were seen in a minibus without wearing face masks.

Limbe Police Spokesperson, Sub Inspector Patrick Mussa, says the convicts “were immediately arrested and taken to Limbe Police and later charged with ‘not wearing a mask in a public area’ contrary to Rule 20 (3) of Malawi Public Health (Corona virus and Covid-19) (Prevention, Containment and Management) Rules.”

All pleaded guilty.

In mitigation, they pleaded for court leniency, saying they will never commit the offence again.

Sub Inspector Pharaoh asked the court to mete out a stiff punishment, saying the convicts’ tendency put other people’s lives in danger and against what the government is preaching about containment of further spread of the virus.

Senior Resident Magistrate Byson Masonga, while quashing the convicts’ mitigating factor, concurred with Pharaoh.

“He therefore ordered them to pay K5,000 fine each or in default 6 months imprisonment with hard labor,” said Mussa.

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