By CHARLES MUSONDA
A ZAMBIA Air Force officer has been jailed six years for assaulting her 11-year-old niece by burning her with hot kitchen utensils and boiling water.
Lusaka Magistrate Nthandose Chabala yesterday jailed Lieutenant Mildred Luwaile, 33, of ZAF Twin Palm, who was charged with assaulting her sister’s daughter between March 25 and April 11, 2019.
Ms. Chabala said she had taken into account that Luwaile is a first offender but that the offence she committed was serious and for her to reform and deter would-be offenders she must serve six years in prison.
She said the offence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment.
She found that the girl, who was initially living with her biological mother in Mpongwe before moving in with Luwaile in 2017, already had an injury on her knee when she ran away from the accused person’s and that the latter never took her to hospital.
Ms. Chabala also found that the victim had other multiple injuries on her back, chest, and abdomen and that the defence did not challenge evidence on the medical report.
She said evidence of the medical report and other witnesses corroborated with the child’s testimony and that there was no doubt that her injuries were caused by force applied on her body using hot objects.
The court also found that an opportunity existed for Luwaile to assault the victim and that it was clear that the accused person did not seek medical treatment for the girl despite being aware of her wounds.
She said the pouring of hot water on the girl by the accused person was unlawful and that from totality of the evidence, the prosecution had proved the case beyond any reasonable doubt and found Luwaile guilty and convicted her as charged.
Prior to Luwaile’s arrest, the victim was seen in a video that went viral on Facebook and other social media platforms describing her ordeal.
She narrated that she used to sleep in the garage on a reed mat and that the accused person used a hot knife and spoon to abuse her.
She said Luwaile used to put the knife on the stove until it was red hot before pressing it on her body while her arms were tied.
The girl also said on another occasion Luwaile put a spoon on the stove, tied her legs, laid her on the floor and burnt her with the hot utensil.