THE Ndola High Court has sentenced two commandos of Mushili Commando Unit in Ndola to 50 years imprisonment each with hard labour for murdering a garden boy on suspicion that he had stolen from them.
Lusaka High Court judge Anessi Bobo, sitting in Ndola on Thursday, said she could not impose the mandatory sentence of death on Abel Banda, 28, and Lengwe Chibesa, 25, because there are extenuating circumstances in the case.
This is in a case in which Banda and Chibesa were charged with murder.
Banda and Chibesa on March 27 last year in Ndola, jointly and whilst acting together, murdered Raphael Chama.
“I agree that on record it appears that there were a lot of thefts in your area but that is no reason for you to take it in your hands as there were no facts the deceased was the one stealing but he was a mere suspect. That being the case, I sentence each of you to 50 years imprisonment with hard labour.
“This is with effect from the date you were arrested. You are informed of your right of appeal to the Supreme Court within 14 days,” Mrs Justice Bobo said.
In mitigation through their lawyer, Banda and Lengwe asked the court to consider imposing a different sentence other than death as there are extenuating circumstances and they are youthful.
Banda and Lengwe’s relatives wept outside the courtroom soon after the sentence was passed.