The Zomba Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court has convicted and sentenced a court marshall, Davie Saona 35, to 3 years imprisonment with hard labour for forging court documents in an attempt to release two convicts from prison.

The court heard from the state prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent Peter Pilingu that, Saona who was working as a court marshall at Zomba High Court, on November 18, 2019 forged court documents in an attempt to release two convicts, Lloyd Phiri and Imran Banda, who are serving their sentences at Zomba Maximum Prison for robbery charges.

According to the prosecutor, Saona forged a signature of Judge Zione Ntaba and others with an aim of releasing the two convicts on bail pending appeal.

However, when Saona presented the documents to Zomba Maximum Prison, the officer who was on duty became suspicious of the signatures and informed his bosses before releasing the two.

Upon enquiry from Zomba High Court, it was discovered that the documents were forged and the matter was reported to police who arrested Saona.

He was charged with five counts, but he pleaded not guilty to all the charges when he appeared before court, a development that forced the state to parade eleven witnesses.

After parading the witnesses, the court was convinced that the state had proved the case beyond reasonable doubts, and Saona was therefore convicted on all the five charges.

In his antecedents, prosecutor Pilingu prayed to the court for a stiffer sentence considering the seriousness of the offences.

He further said Saona’s action puts the court’s reputation at disrepute, hence the need for him to get a stiffer sentence so that it should be a lesson to other would be offenders.

In his mitigation, Saona through his lawyer Useni Muhammad of Chidothi and Company asked the court for a lenient sentence, saying he is a first offender and his conviction shows that he has lost his job and benefits after working with the court for 9 years.

Passing sentence on April 9, 2021, His Lordship Mzonde Mvula who was sitting as Chief Resident Magistrate concurred with the state and sentenced Saona to 3 years imprisonment with hard labour for forging court documents and 14 months each for all the four counts, but the sentences are to run concurrently.

Saona hails from Namasope Village in the area of Traditional Authority Nankumba in Mangochi district.

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