THE Kasama High Court has sentenced a 41-year-old peasant of Malema village in Mpika to life imprisonment with hard labour for battering his pregnant wife to death during a domestic brawl.
Ndola High Court judge Isaac Chali, sitting in Kasama, convicted Edom Lwela after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
In passing the sentence last Thursday, Justice Chali said Lwela was lucky that the state had to reduce the charge from murder to manslaughter because he did not show remorse for what he did to the deceased.
Particulars of the offence are that Lwela, on May 20, last year, in Mpika, caused the death of Eunice Mumba.
“This is a very clear case of unprovoked domestic violence from a stronger spouse. In my view, the violence exhibited comes with utter shock. In the circumstances, I would like to punish the convict sufficiently in order to send a strong warning to others not to engage in violent conduct towards defenceless and weaker spouses.
“I, therefore, sentence the convict to life imprisonment with hard labour with effect from the date of his arrest. You are free to appeal to the Supreme Court within 14 days,” Mr Justice Chali said.
In mitigation, defence counsel Japhet Zulu pleaded with the court to be lenient on the accused because he allegedly battered his wife in a drunken stupor. Mr Zulu also said the convict had reflected on his conduct during his detention and would forever be haunted for causing the death of his wife of eight years.
He said Lwela needed to reunite with his children and reintegrate into society as he mourns his wife.
But Justice Chali responded: “I do not see any need for the convict to reintegrate into a civilised society any time soon.”
Facts before court were that on the night of May 19, last year, Lwela returned home and found his wife sleeping.
Lwela and the deceased then picked a quarrel and the couple started exchanging bitter words.
The court heard that it was at that point that a fight ensued and Lwela punched and kicked the now deceased woman.
The deceased later complained of abdominal pains and she was rushed to a rural health centre where she later died.