By: Matthews Mfune
Rumphi magistrate court has sentenced Clever Mtengerenji, a police officer to 6 years imprisonment with hard labour, for defiling a 12-year old standard six girl at Livingstonia in the district.
In his verdict, Magistrate Brian Msiska observed that the offence committed by the police officer was very serious and carried a penalty of life imprisonment. Msiska explained the country’s legislators came up with this stiff penalty to protect minors from sexual offenders.
He said the court treats every primary-school-going girl as a minor as it is rare these days to find elderly girls (from the age of 18 and above) still in primary school. He made this observation following a claim that the convict made in his defence that he was in a love relationship with the school girl and that the girl had told him that she was 18 years old before their liaison began.
The Magistrate said as a police officer, Mtengerenji was not exemplary by going against the core values of his job-to protect life and property.
“The court has taken note that the convict is a police officer whose sole duty is to protect life and property, but in this case, he was actively at the forefront committing the offence,” said Msiska.
However, the presiding magistrate said the court had taken note of mitigating factors that Mtengerenji was a first-time offender and that his job career was on the line after the conviction.
Nonetheless, Magistrate Msiska ordered that the cop, who was among the recently recruited officers, should spend a custodial jail term of 6 years in prison begging from the day he was picked by the police for the offence. He added that the offender had the right to appeal against the conviction and sentence to the High Court.
Mtengerenji committed the offense on the night of 7-8th February, 2016 at his house where he, along with his colleagues, had organised a drinking spree which the girl had also attended. Mtengerenji reportedly lured the girl into his house with a promise that he would give her notebooks, but instead ended up drinking beer with her and later defiled her three times that night.
Constable Mtengerenji, 25 hails from Beni Village, Traditional Authority Somba in Blantyre but committed the offence while working at Livingstonia Police Unit in Rumphi.