A Lusaka man has been sentenced to 60 years imprisonment with hard labour for aggravated robbery which he jointly committed with three other men at four different houses, including one belonging to a judge.
The Lusaka High Court has further sentenced Martin Siame’s co-accused, Misheck Phiri, Yotam Mbewe and Jack Chanda to 30 years imprisonment with hard labour each, for the same charges.
The four, who pleaded not guilty, broke into four homes while armed with iron bars, knives, crowbars and machetes and stole various items.
Particulars of the offence in count one were that, the four convicts stole from Mulambe Nkhoma, two digital cameras, two laptops, a Samsung Television set, LG Home Theater, DVD player, a baby cot, two pairs of shoes, US $750, 3380 Euros and K200,000 cash all valued at K45,000,000 (unrebased).
In count two, the four stole from Aziph Banda, a Theatre System, a pressing iron, a Philips DVD player, a Strong decorder, a fan, a video game, a Samsung C33 phone, two Zamtel phones and K450,000 cash all valued at K3,918,000 (unrebased amounts).
In count three, the convicts broke into judge Mwamba Chanda’s home and stole a leather handbag, two laptops, five cell phones, assorted hair straighteners, a pair of shoes, a pair of trousers, a black handbag, a pair of sneakers, a bunch of car keys and K8,950,000 all valued at K24,996,000 (unrebased).
And in the last count, the four broke into the home of Charles Imasiku and stole a laptop and a cell phone all valued at K3,750,000 (unrebased).
Judge Chanda, one of the victims, had testified that the convicts broke into her home on March 3, 2012.
She had told the court that on the material day, her bedroom door opened and she saw a light brown man holding a knife followed by a short man who was also holding a knife.
Justice Chanda added that a third man was holding a crowbar while the fourth had a rusty machete.
She testified that as the tall light man advanced towards her, he ordered her not to scream otherwise he was going to kill her.
The witness testified that the said man asked her for money and further grabbed a Nokia N95 series, which was black in colour and a C3 series phone, pink in colour.
She said while the tall man was asking her for money, others stood at the edge of the bed and threatened to rape her if she was uncooperative.
Justice Chanda said the tall light man jumped on the bed and asked where the gun was but she said there was no gun in the house, adding that the same convict later got hold of her handbag and took K2 million (unrebased) from it.
She said the convict also took US $150 from her purse as he continued to demand for more money, and further said, since the tall light man continued to demand for money, she went into the closet and gave him K5 million (unrebased), which he put in his pants.
Judge Chanda testified that the convict later tied her hands behind her back, put a cloth in her mouth and secured it with another cloth.
She said thereafter, he left her lying on the side of the bed and walked out of the room.
Judge Chanda testified that while tied, she left her bedroom to check on the other members of the house when she met the said tall man walking towards her with a bunch of car and house keys and asked her to show him the keys to the Mark II from the bunch she was holding.
She said after showed him, he said the car had refused to start.
Passing judgment, High Court Judge Anessie Banda-Bobo said the circumstantial evidence linked the accused persons to the commission of the offence as the victims clearly identified each of the persons that they recognized.
She added that it also couldn’t be a coincidence that 11 people in total identified the first accused person nor could it be coincidence that the victims described the accused persons in the same way.
Justice Banda-Bobo said she believed the prosecution’s evidence had been so overwhelming and compelling, adding that there could be no other rational hypothesis than that the accused persons committed the offence of aggravated robbery as charged.
She then convicted the four after finding that the State had proved its case against each accused person beyond all reasonable doubt.
Justice Banda-Bobo sentenced Siame to 30 years imprisonment with hard labour in count one, while his friends were sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour, respectively.
In count two, she sentenced Siame to 60 years imprisonment with hard labour while his friends, 30 years.
In the third count, Siame was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment with hard labour while his friends got 15 years.
And in the last count, justice Banda-Bobo sentenced Siame to 30 years imprisonment with hard labour while his friends got 15 years.
She said the sentences were to run concurrently.