High cases of defilement worry the judiciary in Eastern Province.

The Chipata High Court Session has officially opened with the Judiciary expressing sadness with the increasing number of defilement cases in the province.
High Court Judge, Flavia Chishimba, says that the criminal cause list of the cases for this February High Court session reveals that sexual offences particularly defilement are prevalent in the province.
Judge Chishimba says that the Magistrate Courts in the region are flooded with sexual offences adding that the statutory minimum sentences imposed by parliament are beyond their sentencing powers.
The judge explained that after convictions, the Magistrate courts have to refer the convicts for possible sentencing to the High Court, which later results into congestion in the prisons as the convicts remain in remand centres pending the transmission of records to the High Court.
She says that the judiciary is however, considering the possible means of enhancing the sentencing powers of the magistrates as a solution to the backlog of cases.
Judge Chishimba says the maximum power of sentencing for magistrates currently stands at 9 years and proposals are in the process to have the powers increased to 15 years.
And Judge Chishimba has bemoaned lack of transport which has hit the judiciary saying this impact negatively on the timely dispensation of justice.
Judge Chishimba called on government to urgently look into the matter as the vehicles used are old with mechanical faults causing frequent breakdowns.

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