By SYLVIA MWEETWA –
THE SUPREME Court has upheld the 20-year jail sentence slapped on a Ndola man for cutting Zesco cables which resulted in a 12 hour power blackout.
The appellant Paul Bwanga decided to abandon the appeal.
Mr Justice Gregory Phiri, who was sitting with other judges in Kabwe said Bwanga was lucky that he abandoned his appeal because the offence he committed required stiffer punishment to deter would-be offenders.
Bwanga, who was facing an espionage charge was convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour but appealed against both the conviction and sentence to the Supreme Court.
But when the case came up for hearing, Bwanga applied through his lawyer that he had abandoned his appeal and the State did not object to the application.
Mr Justice Phiri described Bwanga’s decision to abandon the appeal as a wise one.
During trial, witnesses described how the appellant was caught red handed after cutting Zesco power cables resulting in blackout.
The witnesses told the court that on May 17, 2008, they experienced a blackout in the area but thought it was load shedding but after peeping through the window they saw the appellant getting down from a ZESCO pole.
The witnesses gave chase and Bwanga was later apprehended from a toilet where he had gone to hide before handing him over to the police.
It took 12 hours to have the cables replaced.
At the closure of the case the appellant was found with a case to answer and put on defence but he denied committing the offence.
The Ndola High court on April 2, 2009 convicted and sentenced him to 20 imprisonment but he appealed against the conviction and sentence.
In the same court, the case in which a Lusaka woman Agness Tembo Phiri and a Mr Jackson Chembe are challenging their 20-year imprisonment for aggravated robbery failed to take off after lawyers representing the duo applied for more time to allow them file a written submissions.
The Supreme court later adjourned the case to a date to be communicated to both parties.