The Chikwawa First Grade Magistrates Court has sentenced 64 year old James Chalenga to 12 years imprisonment with hard labour for defiling his 15 year old stepdaughter.

During court proceeding, Chikwawa police prosecutor, Emmanuel Namarwa told the court that Chalenga committed the offence occured on 9 February, 2021 when the mother of the girl left to attend a funeral ceremony of a relative in Thyolo and left her children including her husband at home.

During the night, the suspect went to the girl’s bedroom and he forced her shut up before he forced himself on her and threatened her not to reveal the issue to anyone.

Later, the girl revealed it to her mother who reported it at Chikwawa Police Station where they were referred to Chikwawa District Hospital.

In court, Chalenga pleaded not guilty to the charge of defilement which contravenes Section 138 of the Penal Code.

This prompted the state to parade three witnesses who testified against the suspect.

In mitigation, Chalenga asked for court leniency, saying he is a bread winner and too old, but the prosecutor prayed for stiffer sentence, saying that Chalenga would be the one protecting his stepdaughter.

Passing sentence, magistrate Gladstone Chilundu concurred with the state and sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment with hard labour to deter other would be offenders.

Chalenga hails from Matenje Village under Traditional Authority Maseya in Chikwawa District.

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