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A LUSAKA pastor who was accused of raping an 18-year-old church member who was entrusted to him for spiritual cleansing and sponsorship to school has been acquitted.

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This was after Lusaka magistrate Idah Phiri found the accused with no case to answer in a matter he is charged with one count of rape.

In passing judgement yesterday at the Lusaka Magistrate Court, Ms Phiri found George Phiri, 30, a pastor of United End of Times Church in Kanyama compound not guilty and acquitted him.

Ms Phiri said the prosecution did not prove their case beyond reasonable doubt through witnesses who never provided proof if there was an agreement between the victim and the accused to have sex.

Magistrate Phiri ruled that the court had doubts in the manner the incident happened because the records does not show that the victim consented or not.

She established that the victim in her testimony did not mention if she was forced or not, she said the pastor took her for prayers at a lodge.

Phiri pleaded not guilty to one count of rape contrary to the laws of Zambia.

It is alleged that Phiri took the victim to a lodge and had sex with her as part of spiritual cleansing.

It is also alleged that he smeared a white powder and sprinkled some water on her body claiming that she had a spiritual husband which needed to be removed whilst naked on the bed.

But Phiri in his defense denied the allegations on grounds that the victim was his girlfriend and they were in a relationship.

Phiri in his defence testified that the victim wanted him to sponsor her to school and buy her a phone of which he agreed.

Phiri is married with children and said he wanted to marry the victim as his second wife because it’s not a sin.

“According to the prosecution, the victim did not consent having sex with the accused, but there is no enough evidence because she was never heard screaming at the lodge and there is no evidence that the powder was found in the lodge.  The officer did not tell the court that he found the powder in the room, we don’t know where it came from. Two maids at the lodge said they saw the victim coming out holding hands with the accused.

Magistrate Phiri said if the accused used force, the victim could have screamed.

“The Prosecution did not prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, I therefore found the accused not guilty and acquit him accordingly,” she ruled.



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