Two Ntcheu men found with no case to answer

Mpeta, Lomosi and LAB Counsel

The High Court sitting at Ntcheu has freed Benson Mpeta and Frank Lomosi as they have no case to answer in a murder case they were charged with. The two were suspected of killing a man, Joseph Mpeusa, by setting him ablaze in the district.

When they were arrested in December 2019, they were taken to Court on suspicion that they were involved in the homicide matter. The Malawi Legal Aid Bureau represented Mpeta and Lomosi through Chief Legal Aid Advocate Zaheed Ndeketa and Senior Legal Aid Advocates Hanleck Ching’anda and Arius Chagunda.

In Court, the accused pleaded not guilty and the State paraded four witnesses to prove their case. It was heard in Court that the deceased was caught after breaking into a house within the area of Village Headman Livalo, going away with several properties.

The thief was caught by Livalo police forum members and all stolen items were recovered. The owner of the property directed that since all his items were recovered, the thief should be let go. A crowd that gathered around the scene however was baying for the blood of the thief. Mpeta and Lomosi being part of the community police forum were protecting the man from being beaten.

The two could not contain the fracas and they left. The mob continued to beat up the thief and later burned his body. The dead body was discovered by relatives after the mob had left. Police came to the scene together with a Medical Assistant from Bilira Health Centre who carried a postmortem examination on the body and found that death was due to suffocation and heat burns.

As the police were told that Benson Mpeta and Frank Lomosi were part of the mob, they went on to arrest them. Witnesses that the State brought to Court all pointed out that a man was indeed killed, but the actual people who killed him were on the run. Mpeta and Lomosi were arrested because they remained in the village.

High Court Judge, Justice Texious Masoamphambe, presided over the case and had to give a ruling on whether or not the two had a case to answer after hearing from the State’s witnesses. It was confirmed that the deceased died after being set ablaze and the State wanted the Court to believe that the two were responsible.

Justice Masoamphambe viewed that the two were protecting the deceased from the mob, the witnesses never saw who burned the deceased and did not show evidence that the accused set the fire.

The evidence from the State according to the Court was unreliable. There were a lot of gaps in the evidence, which begged more explanation to warrant trial. Benson Mpeta and Frank Lomosi were therefore set free as they had no case to answer.

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