Lusaka High Court judge Gertrude Chawatama has convicted and sentenced Tshabu Benos to death by hanging for killing her lover Reeves Malambo.
This is the matter in which Benos 38, stabbed her lover, Malambo, 48, with a dagger after a fight at her home in Ibex Hill last year.
When the matter came up for judgement, Thursday, justice Chawatama dismissed Benos’ defence of intoxication, provocation and self defence.
“There was no evidence that the accused was intoxicated. I’m satisfied beyond reasonable that the accused was not intoxicated. No one saw any injuries on the accused nor did the accused show anyone at the police station or hospital the injuries that she said she sustained. The defence witnesses were not consistent with what they heard was said by the accused. The three elements of provocation were not demonstrated hence the defence of provocation failed,” Justice Chawatama said.
Justice Chawatama established that the three defence witnesses, who were relatives of the accused, had lied because their testimonies were not consistent.
She therefore relied on Tamara’s testimony, Benos’ maid, saying the witness had no reason to lie.
“If the accused was in grave danger, she would have retreated. And there is no evidence to suggest that the accused was in any danger. Retreat is necessary. The prosecution relied on the evidence of Tamara, I agreed with the prosecution that Tamara did not have the motive to give false evidence. She did testify that she heard the accused say ‘it is too much of you Reeves beating me so now I will kill you’. Tamara did not have an interest, or any reason to lie. Hence the defence of self defence is not available to the accused,” she said.
And passing judgement, justice Chawatama said the prosecution had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.
She ruled that Benos killed the deceased with malice aforethought and thereby sentenced her to death by hanging.
“The deceased was stabbed in the back. I therefore find that the accused when she used the knife or dagger to stab the deceased, she did so with the intention of causing grievous bodily harm or kill the deceased. The prosecution having proved the case beyond reasonable doubt, I find that the accused killed the deceased with malice aforethought and I find her guilty of the offence of murder and convict her accordingly. I sentence you to death and I direct that you be hanged by the neck until you die. May the Lord have mercy on your soul,” said justice Chawatama.
After the ruling, Benos cried as she was taken away whilst her relatives too could not contain their emotions as they wept uncontrollably.
However, the deceased’s relatives said it was a fair trial because the family had suffered as the result of the death of their breadwinner.
“This is a fair trial because she doesn’t know what she has left us with. He was our breadwinner and used to do everything for the family. In case of a fight between husband and wife why should you go to an extent of killing?” they asked.
During trail, Benos had asked the court to find her guilty of manslaughter, and not murder, saying she had killed out of provocation.
In her final submissions, Benos, through her lawyer Humphry Mweemba, said she did not deny stabbing Malambo but did so out of self defence.
She said she had stabbed Malambo with the intention of protecting herself from severe injuries having been roughly and brutally treated by the deceased.
Benos had argued that on the date in question, the deceased viciously attacked and violently beat her up and in the process of the attack, she stabbed him.
However, the state had argued that Benos’ account of events was an afterthought and therefore, should be convicted of murder.
The state argued that there was no other explanation for Beno’s utterances other than the fact that they were pure manifestations of her intention to cause Malambo’s death.