Mussa John to appeal against reduced sentence

Mussa John

Mussa John got his sentence reduced from eight to three years on Thursday, but the young man is not satisfied and will appeal.

One of the lawyers for John, Chikondi Chijozi from Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) disclosed this after the ruling as John's mother cried for her beloved boy.

Chijozi explained that they wanted the court to overturn the earlier ruling as the sentence was excessive looking at others who have merely been fined.

Mussa's mother
Mussa's mother (in blue) cried

Chijozi said John deserves a suspended sentence rather than a custodial one.

"This is a regrettable ruling given that our petition before the court was not fully heard.

"We will engage the client and most likely appeal," she said.

The High Court on Thursday reduced the sentence after a judicial review was filed.

Judge Vikochi Chima heard that the Magistrate who convicted and sentenced John among others erred in accepting his guilty plea despite indicating in his caution statement, that he was not in possession of the Indian Hemp. 

Lawyers had earlier indicated they will also present evidence that the boy is 17 and not 19 years but in court they did not furnish the judge with such information.

In her ruling, Judge Chima stated that she reduced the sentence due to the offender's age.

Chima indicated that the Magistrate followed all court procedures.

Mussa was on 15 June 2022 arrested for allegedly being found with 78 plastic bags of Indian Hemp.

He claims he was not in possession and that the Marijuana was not his.

Mussa and Fredokiss in court
Mussa in mask interacts with Fredokiss 

Another lawyer, Alexious Kamangila had to pacify people at court not to engage in violence as people were dissatisfied with the ruling.

Following the development in court, Penjani Kalua popularly known as Fredokiss has indicated they will go ahead with planned parade for John to the High Court.

The parade will take place on the 15th of September in Blantyre.