One of the alleged abductors of Pamela Chisumpa and 12 others has changed his earlier plea of guilty to not guilty in a matter he is charged with two others for escaping from lawful custody.
James Bwalya, 22, told Lusaka magistrate, Keegan Litiya on Tuesday after facts of the charge were read out to him and his co-accused that he understood the facts of the case but he was not guilty.
Bwalya appeared at the Lusaka magistrate court and denied escaping from Mwembeshi Prisons.
Bwalya on April 20, 2023 together with his co accused, Henry Phiri, and Christopher Nchenge admitted to the charge of escaping from lawful custody and Mr Litiya set Tuesday as the date for reading of facts and sentencing the three accused persons.
When the matter came up for sentencing, the prosecution read out the facts to Bwalya, Phiri and Nchenge who were before court.
Phiri and Nchenge told the court after the facts were read out to them that they understood the case but maintained that they were guilty .
In their mitigation, Phiri and Nchenge asked the court to exercise leniency on them as they were first offenders who did not waste the court’s time by readily admitting to the charge.
The two further told the court that they were remorseful of their action and should be given a second chance by not sending them to prison .
But Bwalya who was the third accused person in the matter told the court that he was not guilty of the offence because he did not escape from the correctional facility.
Litiya entered a plea of not guilty against Bwalya and proceeded to convict , Phiri and Nchenge at their own admission of guilty.
He sentenced Phiri and Nchenge to 12 months each and ordered that their sentences would run consecutively with the sentences they were serving when they escaped from lawful custody.
This means that Phiri and Bwalya would only start serving the 12 years sentences after they finish serving for the offence they were earlier jailed for which caused them to escape from the correctional facility .
Magistrate Litiya adjourned Bwalya’s case to May 10, 2023 for trial.
Bwalya is also appearing in the Lusaka High Court in a different matter in which he is jointly charged with Mathews Sikaonga in abduction, rape and assault which caused him to be detained at Mwembeshi correctional facility where he escaped from.
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