Wrongly Convicted Database Record

 

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Zomba Defendant 18

 

Charge:

Prostitution

Sentence:

MK7000 (US$9.68) fine

Years Imprisoned:

Year Crime:

2015

Year Convicted:

2016

Year Cleared:

2016

U.S. State or Country of Crime:

Malawi

County or Region of Crime:

Zomba

City of Crime:

Zomba

Result:

Judicially Exonerated

Summary of Case:

"Nineteen women were wrongly convicted of living on the earnings of prostitution on February 24, 2016 in Zomba, Malawi. None of the women had a lawyer when they pled guilty, and were fined K7000 (US$9.68) each. The women appealed with the assistance of the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) and Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC). On July 28, 2016 the Zomba High Court held oral arguments. On September 8, 2016 the Zomba High Court reversed the women's convictions and ordered their acquittal on two grounds: insufficient evidence, and lack of jurisdiction. Judge Zione Ntaba issued the Court's ruling that there was no evidence to prove the charge against the women. He stated that hotels, inns, rest houses and motels are not meant for men only but for both men and women, and seeing a woman leaving a lodging facility is not evidence she has committed the crime of prostitution. He also said that no men were arrested, when the law makes them equally culpable. Judge Ntaba also said the trial court did not have justidiction to try the case: "The lack of jurisdiction is so glaring annd cannot be corrected by the Criminal Procedures and Evidence Code. A court of fourth grade cannot try a case whose maximum sentence is 24 months." The Court ordered that the fines be returned to the women. Note: K1 is equal to US$.0014 in Feb. 2016."

Conviction Caused By:

Innocence Proved By:

"On September 8. 2016 the Zomba High Court reversed the women's convictions and ordered their acquittal on two grounds: insufficient evidence, and lack of jurisdiction. Judge Zione Ntaba issued the Court's ruling that there was no evidence to prove the charge against the women. He stated that hotels, inns, rest houses and motels are not meant for men only but for both men and women, and seeing a woman leaving a lodging facility is not evidence she has committed the crime of prostitution. He also said that no men were arrested, when the law makes them equally culpable. Judge Ntaba also said the trial court did not have justidiction to try the case: "The lack of jurisdiction is so glaring annd cannot be corrected by the Criminal Procedures and Evidence Code. A court of fourth grade cannot try a case whose maximum sentence is 24 months.""

Defendant Aided By:

Compensation Awarded:

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:

Age When Released:

Sex:

Skin/Ethnicity:

Black

Information Source 1:

"Malawi sex workers celebrate as court quashes convictions of 19: Not guilty!, By Zawadi Chilunga (Staff writer), Nyasa Times, September 9, 2016"

Information Location 1:

http://www.nyasatimes.com/malawi-sex-workers-celebrate-court-quashes-convictions-19-not-guilty/

Information Source 2:

"Judgment By Zomba High Court On The Interpretation Of The Offence Of Living On The Earnings Of Sex Work, News Release, Southern Africa Litigation Centre, September 9, 2016"

Information Location 2:

http://www.southernafricalitigationcentre.org/2016/09/09/news-release-judgment-by-zomba-high-court-on-the-interpretation-of-the-offence-of-living-on-the-earnings-of-sex-work/

Information Source 3:

"Review Case No. 58, High Court of Malawi, Zomba District Registry, July 13, 2016 (Skeleton Arguments (Brief) of the Defendants)"

Information Location 3:

http://www.southernafricalitigationcentre.org/1/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Living-on-earnings-Skeleton-arguments.pdf

Information Source 4:

Information Location 4:

Information Source 5:

Information Location 5:

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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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