Court acquits Sikongo teacher of murder

By Staff Reporter
LUSAKA High Court judge Gertrude Chawatama has acquitted a 52-year-old teacher of Sikongo district in the Western Province who was accused of killing his wife over beer.
Before judge Chawatama, sitting in Mongu, was Kalezhi Kanyanga, a teacher at Lwahumba Primary School who was accused of having caused the death of Nosiku Malikana around the 5th of April last year.
Evidence before the court was that the deceased had gone to buy beer for resale and returned to her place in the company of her mother.
It was heard that Kanyanga wanted to give away the beer that the deceased had reserved for her mother and that when she objected his intended move, a fight ensued between them.
According to the prosecution witnesses, Kanyanga threw Malikana on the ground and tried to strangle her but that the deceased’s daughter stopped him.
It was further heard that the next day, the accused called his step-daughter to get to his home and that when she got there,  she found her mother motionless whilst bleeding from the nose and mouth, at which point she alerted the other villagers who in turn reported the matter to the police.
Kanyanga said the deceased thrice fell from their matrimonial bed during the night because she was drunk, but this narrative was disputed by the deceased’s mother who claimed Malikana had not been all that drunk the time they left her place the previous day.
Judge Chawatama heard that a postmortem conducted on the body 10 days after the incident was inconclusive on the cause of death due to the decomposed state in which the remains were.
“In view of the above stated pieces of law, I realise that the evidence before me is circumstantial and in the absence of a report as to the cause of death, it would leave me to speculate as to whether the accused caused the death of the deceased,” judge Chawatama ruled.
“If at the close of evidence in support of the charge it appears to the court that a case is not made against the accused person sufficiently to require him to make a defence, the court shall dismiss the case, and should forthwith acquit him. The accused is hereby acquitted of the charge against him.”