The Lusaka Magistrates Court has expressed disappointment at the rate victims of gender based violence are withdrawing cases against perpetrators of the vice.
Magistrate Jennifer Bwalya said this when she granted an application to a 25-year-old woman of Matero township who made an application before court to withdraw an assault case against her husband.
Magistrate Bwalya said she was disappointed that victims of the vice were the ones who were at the forefront of protecting the perpetrators by withdrawing the charges against their assailants instead of leaving the cases in the hands of law enforcement officers so that justice prevails.
Ms Bwalya made the comment when Cecilia Mwiinga applied to withdraw assault charges against her husband Allan Siwo.
Mwiinga told the court that she had decided to withdraw the charges against her husband because if her husband remained in custody, her children would suffer.
This was because she was jobless and was just a housewife who could not afford to pay for the children’s school fees when schools open.
Ms Mwiinga also told the court that she only reported the matter to the police to stop Siwo from assaulting her in future.
And when asked by the court whether she wanted Siwo to compensate her, Ms Mwiinga responded in the negative.
But Magistrate Bwalya told Ms Mwiinga that from the records before court it was not the first time that Siwo had assaulted her and hoped that she had made a right decision by withdrawing the case.
Ms Bwalya said it was unfortunate that instead of Mwiinga worrying about her life and future at the hands of a bully she instead chose to worry about food and support which would in the end mean nothing if she were to be killed or left disabled because GBV cases were rampant in the country.
Magistrate Bwalya added that those issues were very close to her heart and she could not tolerate that kind of behaviour from a husband.
Ms Bwalya added that the children Mwiinga was protecting would end up like their father as they would grow up like him and become a nuisance in society.
“As much as I sympathize with you, I won’t allow the withdrawal of this case next time you come to court for a similar offence, so that he can learn how to live in harmony.”
Ms Bwalya granted the application and warned Siwo that it was not an acquittal but a discharge and once he was brought to court for a similar offence she would not hesitate to send him to jail.
Siwo was facing two counts of assault. It was alleged that he assaulted Ms Mwiinga on December 15 last year and January 16 this year, occasioning her actual bodily harm.