Court sends killer cop to face hangman

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THE Lusaka High Court has convicted and sentenced a police officer, Edwin Kabasiya, to death by hanging for the murder of his colleague Lennox Kapila, reports The Mast Online.

This is in a matter where Kabasiya shot Kapila on January 4, 2019 at Munali Police Post for refusing to arrest a technician who was fixing his TV which was meant for sale.

High Court judge Kazimbe Chenda said it was unfortunate that Kabasiya betrayed the trust of the Zambian people for him to use a fire arm.

He said Kabasiya deprived the nation of his duty.

The television set was taken to a named technician (TV repairer) within Kaunda Square and after some days, the technician paid a deposit of K500 remaining with a balance of K200.

On the material day around 20:00 hours, Kabasiya’s went to Munali Police Post to have the technician arrested because he had delayed to pay the balance.

Constable Kapila advised Kabasiya’s wife to take civil litigation because the matter was civil, but the woman insisted that the technician be arrested.

Kapila stood his ground and Kabasiya’s wife left.

A few minutes later, Constable Kabasiya appeared at Munali Police Post in uniform armed with an AK47 rifle, and he proceeded to check in the cells and in the Arrest and Prisoner’s Property Book (APPB) if the technician was apprehended but he did not find his name in the book.

Kabasiya then started pestering Kapila about the whereabouts of the technician and was told that he had not arrested him.

Kabasiya threatened Kapila that he was going to shoot him and later fired the gun.

In his defense, Kabasiya claimed that he accidentally shot Kapila when he tried to prevent his firearm when falling.

“The gun wanted to fall off and it hooked on the pen. In an attempt to pick it up, I mistakenly pulled the trigger and it exploded. I heard constable Kapila exclaim that ‘commander Kabasiya you have shot me’ and he held his stomach. I realised I had forgotten to switch off the safety catch, I was supposed to unload the gun and put the bullets in the magazine but I forgot to do so,” he explained.

Kabasiya said Kapila asked him for help but in an attempt to lift him and put him in the van in order to take him to the hospital, a mob gathered at the scene and stoned him.

He added that Kapila was the only police officer on duty at the police post together with neighbourhood watch officers.

“I did not have a chance to leave, the mob threw stones at me. I tried to threaten them by putting the gun in my mouth that I would shoot myself if they came close to me but to no avail. I shot in the air and they scampered and I secured my life by leaving the scene,” he explained.

In his judgment, justice Chenda said that he was satisfied that there was a homicide and that Kabasiya committed the offence but refused to accept that Kapila was accidentally shot as an eyewitness had disclosed that Kabasiya and Kapila had an altercation.

Judge Chenda found that the gun was equipped before Kabasiya pulled the trigger as he skillfully handled the firearm during his testimony and prior to the incident and fled the scene.

The court said it was not possible that Kapila was accidentally shot as his skillful example of handling the gun when demonstrating to court negates the claim that the incident was an accident.

He found that Kabasiya left Lusaka for Chipata, making it difficult for members of the public to identify and apprehend him for the offence.

Judge Chenda said that the incident occurred in January but Kabasiya reported himself in June.

He ruled that Kabasiya intentionally shot his colleague and that the prosecutions had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Kapila was shot by Kabasiya.

” I find that the accused was possessed with malice aforethought. I therefore find him guilty of the murder of Lenox Kapila and I convict him accordingly,” said judge Chenda

After he was found guilty, Kabasiya had no mitigation because the offence carries the death sentence.

“You were trained at the expense of the Zambian people and you were trusted to execute your duty with a firearm. It is a pity that you betrayed that trust by using the opportunity to kill a fellow officer and deprived him of his life and the country of service. I reviewed the evidence for extenuating circumstances but to no avail,” said judge Chenda.
“You had a bright future but the law should take its cause. Section 201 of the Penal Code leaves me with no discretion but to impose a capital punishment. I accordingly sentence you to death under my hand today January 3, 2020.”

After he was sentenced, Kabasiya did not react as he was calm and collected.

Speaking to journalists, Kapila’s wife Matilda was delighted that justice had prevailed over the death of her husband.

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