Africa-Press – Malawi. The Malawi High Court in Mzuzu has set free two men, Oswell Mbale and Cephus Chirwa, after finding them not guilty of the murder Michael Fay, a British national who was killed in Nkhata Bay in 2019.
The two were arrested on 24th July 2019 weeks after the murder of Fay during the night of 26th June 2019. At the time of their arrest, it was alleged that Mbale was found with a mobile cellphone belonging to the deceased.
Legal Aid Bureau’s Principal Legal Aid Advocate, Watson Pajanji Chirwa, started representing the accused following a prison screening visit. The prosecution’s case centered on the confession that was allegedly made by the accused persons at police and the deceased’s cell phone that was allegedly found with Mbale.
After the state paraded its witnesses, Oswell Mbale and Cephus Chirwa were found with a case to answer on 11th March 2021. In defence, the two accused persons denied their confession and further denied killing the deceased nor being at the scene of the crime at the time he was killed.
The accused persons also told the court in their testimony that they had been tortured and coerced into making a confession by police officers. Oswell Mbale explained to the court that he had bought the cell phone from a man named Jozy Phiri near Msongwe some two weeks later after Allan Michael Fay was killed.
In its lengthy and elaborate judgment, the High Court before Justice Ligowe indicated that the State had failed to corroborate the contents of the confession allegedly made by the accused persons with any independent evidence.
The court was of the view that the evidence the State relied upon had a lot of inconsistencies, which could only be weighed in favour of the accused persons.
The High Court, therefore, held that the State had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused persons had killed the deceased, thereby resulting in their acquittal. Oswell Mbale and Cephus Chirwa have been in custody at Mzuzu prison since the day of their arrest on the 24th of July, 2019.
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