15-yr sentence given for killing of wife

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A man of Mtendere in Lusaka will serve a 15-year prison sentence with hard labour for killing his wife whom he accused of having given him a ‘love concoction’.
Charles Besa, 26, was charged with murder which is contrary to Zambian laws and it comes in the wake of women groups continuing the campaign against gender-based violence (GBV).
The court heard that on October 15, 2009 in Lusaka, Besa did murder Margaret Phiri contrary to Section 200 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
When the matter came up for judgement before High Court judge Emile Sikazwe yesterday, Besa was found guilty of murder.
In his defence, Besa told the court that he had an argument with Margaret when he found her drinking in the company of another man.
He said he asked his wife to go back home with him but that she refused and instead she asked her friend to escort her home.
Besa said it was at this point that his wife told him that he was not her husband because the duo’s relationship had ended some time back.
He said Margaret also told him that she had given him a love concoction and that Besa would never leave her.
Besa told the court that he got incensed by what his wife told him and he pushed her to the ground but she continued teasing him.
He said he was further infuriated when Margaret alleged that the child she had was not Besa’s biological son.
Besa said he did not batter his wife but merely roughed her up after she subjected him to persistent teasing.
But a witness, Margaret’s mother, said her daughter’s marriage to Besa was characterised by violence as he was in the habit of battering her whenever they had a dispute.
Another witness said he saw Besa beating up his wife and stabbed her three times on the forehead, chest and back before he ran away.
In delivering judgement, Justice Sikazwe said he did not believe Besa’s evidence as it was coming from a man who was trying to “save his skin”.
Justice Sikazwe said Besa knew what he had done and that was the reason why he was hiding in a disused vehicle at a garage where he was employed as a mechanic.
“I am satisfied that the accused killed his wife with malice aforethought because he ran away and left his wife without helping her,” Justice Sikazwe said.
Justice Sikazwe said it was not in dispute that Besa killed his wife and that he considered the extenuating circumstances which made Besa commit the crime.
He said Besa committed the crime under the influence of alcohol and that the evidence he gave was established on extenuating circumstances.

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