NDOLA High Court Judge Yvonne Chembe has sentenced a 23-year-old man to 18 years imprisonment with hard labour for indecently assaulting two girls below the age of five.

This is in a matter in which Shadreck Phiri was charged with two counts of defilement but was convicted on charges of indecent assault.

Phiri, on January 26 last year indecently assaulted two girls.

According to the evidence on record, the mother of a one-year-nine months baby went to look for food and left the girl in the company of her friends.

She returned home around 18:00 hours and found the toddler sleeping in the neighbours house.

After a week, she observed that the toddler was having a yellowish discharge from her private parts.

She told her neighbour what was happening to her child and at that point, a five-year-old girl, daughter to the neighbour heard the conversation and disclosed that the convict defiled both of the girls in unfinished building.

Phiri was convicted on two counts of indecent assault.

Passing sentence, Justice Chembe was displeased that a 23-year-old man took advantage of the girls in the absence of an adult.

She said it was difficult to imagine how a grown man could be attracted to a baby who had not even learnt how to use the toilet or speak properly.

“I have considred the mitigation that you are a first offender and that he is remorseful for this action, however I have noted from the record that the convict took advantage of two young children who are aged one year nine months and five years. His behavior is worse than that of an animal, I have never seen a cow or herd of a cow try to mount a calf that has just been born, even a dog going for a puppy, why should a grown man go for a baby it shows that his senses are worse than that of an animal,” she said.

She said at his age, he could have found a girlfriend or even a wife.

“It is unforgivable that the convict opted to take advantage of two young girls who could not even call for help and perhaps did not realise the danger,” said Judge Cheembe.

Judge Chembe sentenced Phiri to 18 years imprisonment with hard labour in each count and the sentence would run concurrently.