Chiradzulu First Grade Magistrate Court has on Wednesday convicted and sentenced 19-year-old Martin Edward to eight years’ imprisonment with hard labour for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

The court heard through state prosecutor Inspector Spenard Chankoma of Chiradzulu Police Station that the convict was in love with the victim since October 2023, adding that the two had been engaging in sex.

Chankoma said a month later, the girl’s parents noticed that their daughter spent most of the nights out and after interrogations, she admitted to have been sleeping at the convict’s house.

The matter was reported to Namitambo Police Unit where the girl was given a referral letter to Namitambo Health Centre where it was confirmed the convict had been having sex with the victim several times.

Appearing before court, Edward pleaded not guilty, prompting the state to parade four witnesses who proved the case against him.

In mitigation, Edward prayed for leniency, claiming he was first-time offender and has family responsibilities.

Inspector Chankoma however, asked the court to give the convict a stiffer punishment, saying the offence was serious and deserved custodial sentence.

Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Smart Maruwasa concurred with the state, adding that such offences were common in the country.

He therefore sentenced Edward to eight years’ imprisonment with hard labour to serve as a deterrent to other would-be offenders.

Edward comes from Chikhwaza Village in Traditional Authority Boidi in Thyolo District.

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