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Mangochi Court Acquits Man In Firearm Related Case

The Senior Resident Magistrate Court sitting at Mangochi has on Tuesday acquitted Tobias Navaya Sendeza of the offences of being found in possession of a firearm without a licence, and being found armed at night with intent to break or enter a building and commit a felony therein. The offences are contrary to sections 12 (1) (2) of the Firearm Act and Section 313 (b) of the Penal Code respectively.
On 15th September 2023, Tobias was called by his nephew Gift Singano to meet him at Mangochi Turn-off to travel together to Mangochi town to pick up a bag of maize.
Tobias indeed met his nephew and proceeded together to Mangochi in a Toyota Sienta which was being driven by the nephew’s friend. Upon arrival at Chimwala roadblock, police officers stopped them to search the vehicle. They found a bag which contained a pistol and 8 ammunition. A torch, a plier and a pair of clobbers were also found in the vehicle.
Tobias together with his nephew, Gift Singano, the driver and other passengers were apprehended by the police. After preliminary investigations, the two were charged whilst the other passengers and driver were released.
Relatives of the accused sought legal aid and the matter was assigned to Senior Legal Aid advocate Upile Mapata with assistance from Assistant Legal Aid Officer Maxwell Shaba.
In Court, Gift Singano pleaded guilty to the offence of being found with a firearm without a licence and he pleaded not guilty to the other charge. Tobias Navaya Sendeza pleaded not guilty to both counts. The State paraded four witnesses to prove the charges against both accused persons. The two were both found with a case to answer and they gave their defence.
In a judgment, Senior Resident Magistrate Muhammad Chande pronounced that the State failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Tobius Navaya Sendeza knew that his nephew was in possession of the firearm. The State also failed to prove that the instruments found in the car belonged to either accused persons as the only competent witness who could attest to its possession, being the driver, was not called by the State as a witness.
The Court further stated that there was doubt on whether the two accused persons were indeed in possession of the instruments.
The Court therefore acquitted Tobias Navaya Sendeza of the two counts and Gift Singano of the count of being found armed at night with intent to commit a felony.
Gift Singano was found guilty of being found with a firearm without a licence and was sentenced to five months imprisonment. This however led to his immediate release since he stayed in custody on remand for seven month.
Legal Aid Bereau 
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