THE Ndola High Court has sentenced a father of four to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour for fondling his neighbour’s child aged six.
In passing the sentence on Tuesday, Judge Mary Mulanda noted that the trial court did not error in convicting Stan Ankola, 25, as evidence of the prosecution against him was overwhelming.
This was after the defence asked the High Court to quash the conviction, saying the lower court erred in its verdict before it did not hear the evidence of the victim.
This is a matter where Ankola, unemployed, of house number 234/3 in Mikomfwa, Luanshya, was charged with indecent assault.
Particulars of the offence are that on October 3, 2014, in Luanshya, Ankola, indecently assaulted a girl aged six.
“In his plea, the accused said: “I understand the charge, I admit it. I did touch her breasts without her permission.”
During trial, the victim’s mother told the court that around 20:00 hours on the material day, she discovered that her daughter was missing from home. When she enquired from her older daughter, she said she did not know because the accused had taken the can-dle from their room.
The girl was found at the accused’s house after a search. When the mother picked the girl, she discovered that she had semen on her legs.
When he was placed on his defence, Ankola opted to remain silent and called no witnesses.
Ms Justice Mulanda also said that the trial court could not have relied on the evidence of the victim as she was a toddler. She said the evidence by the victim’s mother was enough as she found the convict with her child, and Ankola did not challenge the evidence by the victim’s mother.
“I disagree with the defence’s submission that the trial court erred in convicting the accused as the evidence by the victim’s mother indicates that her child had sperms on her legs, which the accused did not challenge was overwhelming. And more so, the convict opted to remain quiet in his defence.”
“I also note that the convict had the opportunity to commit the offence as he was alone with the victim at the time and that the victim had sperms on her legs. I therefore find that the prosecution has proved their case against the accused beyond any reasonable doubt.
“As a married man, you could not have done what you did to a defenceless child,” she said.
Ms Justice Mulanda granted the convict leave to appeal to the Supreme Court within 14 days.
In mitigation, defence counsel Chiti Kabende pleaded with the court to be lenient on the convict because he was married with four children.