High Court finds Albino Attacker guilty of attempted murder

Chitipa, : High Court sitting in Chitipa has convicted a man arrested in 2016 for attempted murder of a woman with albinism.

Presiding Judge Thomson Ligowe said evidence by state prosecution proved beyond doubt that the defendant, Joseph Ndimbwa, was involved in the attack of the now 53-year-old woman, Lucia Kainga in Chitipa.

The court heard that on July 16, 2016, Kainga and her husband, Yohane Mfungwe, heard screams outside their house at Ipenza 5 in Senior Chief Kameme.

When they rushed to find out what was happening, the assailants attacked them and cut off the arm of the woman. The woman later spent months in hospital while her husband also sustained injuries for trying to protect her.

Ndimbwa, who was represented by lawyers from Legal Aid, denied the charges, prompting the prosecution team to parade three witnesses to testify against him.

The witnesses included the victim, police investigator, and a written testimony from the victim’s husband, Mfungwe.

In previous sittings in 2018, Kainga and her husband testified that they recognized Ndimbwa’s voice when he was outside the house and that the victim also saw him when her arm was being chopped off.

The defence team challenged the allegations, arguing that during the incident, it was difficult for the victim to recognize anyone as the incident occurred in the dark.

They also paraded two witnesses, including the accused and his wife who provided an alibi that they slept together at their house in Luzga about two kilometers from the victim’s house on the date the crime occurred.

In his ruling, Judge Ligowe said the most compelling evidence of the case was the recognition of the suspect by both the victim and her husband.

“In criminal cases like this one, recognition is more crucial than identification. The people involved in this case know one another very well that they cannot mistaken each other’s voice or face even if there is less light,” said Ligowe.

He said the alibi could not hold because the wife of the accused could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that the husband did not leave the house at any time during the night.

The presiding Judge also explained to the court that cases of attacks on people with albinism often result in the death of the victims, which meant the accused attempted to murder the victim during the attack.

He, therefore, found the accused guilty of attempted murder which is contrary to Section 223 of the Malawi Penal Code which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

He has since adjourned the case to a later date for sentencing.

Both the victim and the convict come from Ipenza 5 Village in Senior Chief Kameme in Chitipa.

Source: MANA Online