Iringa — An Iringa policeman, Pacificius Cleophance, who was charged with the killing of a journalist with Channel Ten, Daudi Mwangosi, was yesterday found guilty of manslaughter by the High Court here.
Mwangosi died of gunshots on September 2, 2012 at Nyololo village at Mufindi District in Iringa Region. Judge Paul Kihwelo set tomorrow for the sentencing of the police officer who has been in remand custody for the past four years.
Mwangosi was killed during a confrontation pitting police officers and supporters of Chadema during a rally at the village where the opposition political party was opening a branch.
The policeman was arraigned for the first time on September 12, 2012, when he was charged with the murder of the journalist. The same court ruled on June 22, this year, that he had a case to answer. Inadequate evidence submitted before the court by the prosecution prompted the trial judge to change the charges to manslaughter from murder as was initially filed.
After the judge announced the changes, Mr Adolph Merging for the prosecution prayed to the court to sentence Cleophance to life imprisonment pursuant to Section 198 of the Penal Code while the defence counsel, Mr Rwezaura Kaijage, prayed for a suspended sentence.
The defence counsel prayed that the court should have mercy on the policeman since he committed the crime unintentionally; stating further that at 27 years of age, the offender was part of the productive workforce still needed by the country.
“My client took part in the operation that led to the journalist’s death out of his will; he has been remanded for four years during which he has regretted his actions.
He is a bread winner in the family having lost all his parents. “He has a wife, child and five young siblings all whom depend on him for survival,” Mr Kaijage prayed as he sought for a suspended sentence for his client, based on Section 38 (11), Chapter 16 of the Penal Code.
Before changing the charges to manslaughter, Judge Kihwelo explained that the state had presented four witnesses, three of whom failed to convince the court whether the policeman had deliberately killed the journalist.
Judge Kihwelo wondered as to why the state had failed to present other important witnesses, including the then Iringa Regional Police Commander (RPC), Michael Kamuhanda and Iringa Regional Crime Officer (RCO), one Wankyo.
The judge mentioned witnesses who gave their evidence as police officers with different ranks namely Said Mnuka, Azel Mwampamba and Lewis Obada.
According to Justice Kihwelo, the only witness who pinned Cleophance was Flora Mhelela, a justice of the peace who submitted a confession by the policeman, which was later rejected by the defence.
The court was convinced that the confession was attained without force from the suspect who admitted to have killed Mwangosi accidentally.