A 24-YEAR-OLD man has been convicted and sentenced to eight years imprisonment with hard labour for manslaughter after he hit another man who was trying to stop a fight between him and another with a stone on the head, leading to his death.

In this matter, Bwalya Mulenga was charged with manslaughter and he pleaded guilty before Lusaka High Court judge Mwila Kombe.

Mulenga was alleged to have caused the death of Richard Simwinga.

Facts in this matter are that on January 21, 2020, in Lusaka around 08:00 hours, Mulenga found Richard (deceased) and his friends chatting.

Mulenga picked a fight with William, one of the deceased’s friends, and the deceased tried to stop the fight between the two.

Subsequently, Mulenga got a stone and hit the deceased on the head.

The deceased sustained a deep cut on his head and was taken to George Clinic where he was stitched and later on referred to Chingwere Level One Hospital.

The deceased was discharged on January 30, 2020 but around 12:00 hours on the same day, he was taken to the University Teaching Hospital where he was admitted until the following day when he died.

A postmortem examination was conducted on the body of the deceased and the cause of death was established to be due to complications for the treatment of blunt impact trauma to the head due to assault.

Mulenga had no lawful justification in causing the death of the deceased.

After the facts were read to him, Bwalya admitted that they were true and correct.

The court then convicted him.

In his mitigation, the convict, through his lawyer Bentry Banda from Legal Aid Board, said he regrets the loss of the deceased’s life, who died at his hands on the fateful day.

Banda said the thought of loss of a life continued to haunt the convict and that he was very remorseful.

He added that the convict was a born again christian and had reformed.

“From the date of his incarceration on June 19, 2020, the convict has had occasion to reflect on his past conduct and has realised that crime does not pay, fighting does not pay. He instructs us that during this period he has been visited by members of the clergy at the correctional facility and that with their assistant, he has reformed. He has become a born again Christian. He has given his life to the Lord,” Banda said.

Passing sentence, Judge Kombe said she had taken into account that the convict had admitted the charge of manslaughter, and thereby not wasted the court’s time.

She, however, said the charge of manslaughter was a very serious offence and attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Judge Kombe said she does not understand why the convict would react in a violent manner when the deceased was trying to maintain peace by making efforts to stop a fight.

“The facts in this case have revealed that you picked a quarrel with the deceased’s friend. When the deceased tried to stop the fight, you got a stone and hit the deceased on the head. I do not understand why you would react in a violent manner when the deceased was trying to maintain peace by stopping the fight,” she said.

“To aggravate the situation, you picked a stone and hit him on the head, which is the most delicate part of the body. You failed to control your emotions. How could you aim for the head?”

Judge Kombe added that since the convict had decided to engage in unlawful acts, he had to face the consequences of his actions, adding that he needed more time to reflect because a life was lost.

She said there were so many ways of resolving disputes and violence was not one of them.

Judge Kombe sentenced him to eight years imprisonment with hard labour with effect from date of arrest.

“I have come to a conclusion that justice will be served by imposing a sentence which will reflect the seriousness of this offence that you committed. In order to meet the ends of justice, I sentence you to eight years imprisonment with hard labour with effect from date of arrest, which is June 19, 2020,” ruled judge Kombe.