The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has sentenced a 22-year-old man of N’gombe township to 12 months’ imprisonment with hard labour for stealing a Techno cellular phone valued at K1,800.

In this matter, Kennedy Mwanza, unemployed, was facing a charge of theft and had pleaded guilty.

Particulars of the offence were that on January 16, 2019, Mwanza stole Howard Lungu’s Techno device worth K1,800.

The matter came up before Magistrate Nsunge Chanda, Tuesday, for facts and sentencing.

Facts in this matter are that on the material day, the complainant, Lungu, was in a pub in Ng’ombe compound when Mwanza asked for his phone so that he could make a call.

But after he was given the phone, Mwanza fled and did not return it.

Lungu waited until the following day when he reported the matter to the police station.

Mwanza was later arrested and charged with theft.

Asked whether the facts were correct, Mwanza replied in the affirmative.

He told the court that he had actually sold the phone.

In mitigation, Mwanza said he was sorry and asked the court to be lenient on him as he was fending for his mother, siblings and child.

He also said his mother wasn’t aware of his incarceration.

“I didn’t want my mother to know because she has BP. Only my brother and sister know that I’m in custody,” Mwanza said.

However, Magistrate Chanda told him that he could have remembered that his mother had BP before stealing.

She reminded him that theft carried a five year maximum jail term.

“So, in five years, your mother will know, so you have to mitigate to convince me not to send you to prison,” Magistrate Chanda said.

And in her ruling, Magistrate Chanda said though Mwanza deserved leniency, the offence he committed was serious.

She said Mwanza needed to be punished because people work very hard to buy accessories, such as the phone he stole.

Magistrate Chanda, therefore, sentenced him to one year imprisonment with hard labour.

“You acted to steal and I have to punish you to deter others from committing similar offender. People work hard to buy a phone worth K1,800 and you steal. I sentence you to 12 months’ imprisonment with hard labour with effect from today,” ruled Magistrate Chanda.