The Karonga First Grade Magistrate’s court has slapped Palisha Swira 34, to pay a K100,000 fine or jailed for one year for spreading a fake news that a police officer had died.
He was convicted on a charge of false publication likely to cause fear and alarm to the public peace.
The offence contravenes Section 60 of the Penal code.
The court, through State Prosecutor Sub Inspector Alfred Chidzere, heard that on January 2, 2020 Swira produced an audio about the death of Sub Inspector Michael Mwangomba which had gone viral.
Swira alleged that late Mwangomba confiscated two bags of charcoal from a certain man at Songwe Border.
In the audio, the accused further alleged that officer Mwangomba was bewitched.
In his court appearance, Swira pleaded guilty to the charge.
The state, however, asked the court to play the audio and the court raised no objection.
In submission, the state prayed for a harsh sentence arguing the convict’s conduct created fear and alarm not only to the deceased family but to the police as a whole.
However, Swira, in his mitigation, pleaded for a lighter sentence saying he is sole bread winner and looks after his old mother.
In his determination, First Grade Magistrate Julius Kalambo concurred with the state for a harsh penalty since the offence brought fear and alarm to the public.
However, he observed that such a offence is a misdemeanor attracting a maximum 2 years imprisonment and that Swira is a first offender.
Magistrate Kalambo went on to whip him with a K 100,000 fine or in default to spend the next 12 months in prison.
He has since paid the fine to escape the jail term.
Palisha Swira hails from Naolondo Village, Traditional Authority Mwaulambiya in Chitipa District.