A state forensic pathologist has testified in the Lusaka High Court that ZAF flight sergeant Mark Choongwa died of a sudden cardiac death as a result of a blunt force trauma on his back, which caused emotional and psychological stress on his already diseased heart.

And Dr Luchenga Mucheleng’anga, 38, has testified that after further examinations, he discovered that the deceased had Hepatitis, Bronchial Pneumonia and Myocarditis.

Meanwhile, Dr Mucheleng’anga says sergeant Choongwa’s pattern of injury on his back depicted that he was only kicked or hit using a blunt object, once.

In this matter, Veronica Shawa, 44, a police officer of SOS Humanitarian area, Mike Kapale, 39, of State Lodge, Lyton Mwale, 37, of Mtendere and James Ngulube, 27, of Bauleni township, are charged with manslaughter contrary to section 199 of the Penal Code chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.

It is alleged that the quartet, on March 18 last year, whilst acting together, unlawfully caused the death of Mark Choongwa.

When the matter came up for commencement of trial before Justice Mwila Kombe, Monday, Dr Mucheleng’anga explained that he had been informed by a detective that a fight had started after sergeant Choongwa had allegedly stepped on a plate of food before entering the cell at Woodlands Police Station.

“I conducted an autopsy on March 21, 2017, at Maina Soko military hospital. The information I got from the attending officer, detective constable Shawa, was that the deceased had died on the way to UTH from the holding cell at Woodlands Police Station. There was also information that around 01 hours Choongwa was thrown into a cell at Woodlands Police Station and that as he entered the cell, he stepped on a plate of food. This is said to have angered the inmates and according to the officer, that’s how a fight started,” Dr Mucheleng’anga said.

He narrated that after examining the deceased, he discovered that there were no injuries or any defence wounds on the body.

Dr Mucheleng’anga said he also discovered that the deceased’s heart was enlarged and had an inflammation, which he concluded was Myocarditis, the liver showed that there was Hepatitis and the lung areas showed he had Bronchial Pneumonia.

He concluded that the cause of sergeant Choongwa’s death was a “sudden cardiac death,” where the heart stops to function suddenly, due to emotional and psychological stress caused by the blunt force trauma.