Malawi Court Grants Bail to Police Officer Accused of Defilement

The First grade Magistrate Court in Mchinji Monday granted bail to Mkanda unit police officer who is answering charges of defilement.

The accused, Austin Chisuse, aged 38, who is also a Child Protection Officer, has been in police custody since January, after being arrested by Mkanda police unit for allegedly defiling a 14 year-old girl.

Before the bail was granted the court heard through Police Prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent, Steven Majoni Phiri for the central region that the offence committed by the accused is serious in nature and that the suspect deserved not to be given bail.

Phiri said giving bail to the accused would lead him to be at large resulting in compromising the case.

He also asked the court to transfer the case to Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court for further hearing on the basis that the accused is well known among Mchinji prosecutors and some court workers.

Lawyer for the accused, Gift Katundu of Kita and Company argued before the court that the accused deserves to be on bail, challenging that there are many accused persons outside there who are answering murder and treason cases but are on bail in the country.

Katundu also acknowledged the concerns raised by the state prosecutor to transfer the case to Lilongwe chief resident magistrate court.

He condemned the state for continuing keeping the accused person in police custody, saying that was tantamount to pretrial punishment which is unlawful.

Mchinji First Grade Magistrate, Rodwell Meja Phiri, granted the accused bail on condition that  he has to surrender his passport and other travelling documents to Mchinji police station and also  to be reporting to the district police station every Friday.

Phiri further ruled the case to be transferred to Lilongwe upon scrutinizing the reasons given by the state prosecutor.

He said the Chief Resident Magistrate Court would decide the date for further hearing.

Chisuse who is a police officer and also worked as a child protection officer at Mkanda police unit is answering to the charge of defilement which is contrary to section 138 of the penal code and may be sentenced up to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour if found guilty.