Court orders detention of 31- year-old lawyer for allegedly killing son


High Court Judge, Dorcas Malama, has ordered the detention of 31-year-old Lusaka lawyer under the President’s pleasure after finding her guilty of killing her son.

The order refers to the detention in prison for an indefinite length of time of persons who commit offences due to their mental problems.

Namwene Phiri, on February 15, 2022, was alleged to have killed her two-year-old son by administering a pesticide to him and later consumed the same in an attempt to commit suicide.

The convict who has made a number of suicidal attempts since her arrest, is charged with murder but pleaded not guilty. Her claim is that the baby drowned in a bathtub.

During trial, Chief analyst at the National Food Laboratory , Hilary Chibaya testified that the bottle of doom blue death insecticide given to him for toxicology analysis contained dichlorvos, an organophosphate pesticide.

Another expert witness, State pathologist, Dr Luchenga Muchelenganga said there was no external injuries on the boy’s body but internal examination showed intestinal system had semi solid food that had paraffin like smell.

Muchelenganga said it was the same smell that he smelt from the bottle of doom blue death insecticide and the feeding cup for the boy which were brought into the autopsy room by the investigation officer.

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He ruled out the story of the boy having drowned as organophosphate toxicity was positive at the scene, in the victim’s stomach and at the laboratory.

However, defence witness, Esther Phiri, told the Court that her young sister (Namwene) was physically, verbally and emotionally abused by their aunt.

Esther said when Namwene was 12 years old, she ran away from home and became a street kid.

She added that in 2004, her sister attempted suicide by taking an overdose of Panadol, but survived after being rushed to hospital.

Esther said her sister had been battling depression and was a patient at SYK Healthy Zambia.

Justice Malama said a medical report from Chainama Hills hospital indicated that Namwene was not mentally fit to take plea.

She however said the evidence adduced by the prosecution established that the accused killed her son by giving a pesticide to him, which she also consumed.

She added that the post-mortem report showed the cause of death as organophosphate toxicity due to assault.

“Consequently, the evidence before this court, having proved that the accused person committed the offence, my view is that the circumstances of this case justify conviction or a special finding.

Therefore, on the basis of the Mbaya case, which I have referred to above, my view is that the accused should be detained during the President’s pleasure and I, accordingly ,so order,” Justice Malama ordered.

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