High Court Judge Ruth Chinangwa passed the sentence in Zomba on Friday, almost a week after pronounced a guilty verdict against Chanthunya on three counts of murder, perjury and hiding a dead body.
Chanthunya is said to have murdered his girlfriend, Gasa aged 25 at his Lodge in Mangochi to conceal a pregnancy.
Gasa’s remains were exhumed at Mwala Lodge in Mangochi, owned by Chanthunya.
Delivering the judgment, Chinangwa described the act of Chamthunya same as to that of the beast and said killing her girlfriend was an already premediated act that required no mercy.
Judge Chinangwa said Chimthunya in his act committed three offences and these were murder contrary to section 209, perjury contrary to section 101 and smoldering and hindering burial of a dead body contrary to section 131 of the penal code.
“From all the evidences, the suspect pretty well knew what he would do to the girlfriend who loved him the most. Chamthuya had earlier on planned to dumb Linda Gaza in a river but this did not work and he then drove her to Mangochi at his cottage where he gave her poison, smoldered and stabbed her four times and then buried her in a bathroom.
“All these acts were barbaric and portrayed the violent nature of the accused and he acted like a beast,” said the Judge.
She then said, “The Court is convinced that, for the case of murder, he is therefore sentenced to life imprisonment.
“And for perjury where he lied about not knowing the where-about of his girlfriend having been the last person being with her, he is hereby given two years while, for smoldering and hindering burial of the dead body, the court give him another two years in prison.”
Judge Chinangwa said there was no reason for Chanthunhya to poison smolder and stab Gaza to death because she was her girlfriend, the person whom she loved.
The judge said Gaza had no chance to defend herself because all possible methods were used aimed at killing her.
“The deceased was a loved child, Aunt, sister and a relative whom the family depended on, as such, the suspect committed a serious offence that call for justice,” Chinangwa said.
The judge has since ordered that all the three sentences should run concurrently since the acts of killing Gaza happened in a concurrent nature.
There was dead silence after the judgment had been delivered just two minutes after the court had convened. Chamthunya was seen very surprised and could not believe he was going to spend all his life in prison.
Speaking to journalists after the court session, Lawyer for Chanthunya, Michael Gopa Chipeta said the determination by the court was a clear testimony of unfair trial that should never ever be condoned in the country’s judicial system.
Chipeta said the court had used the affidavits that were earlier rejected to be part of the case and that some of the things mentioned as reasons for giving the sentence were not the evidences of the case.
“If there is an example of unfair trial, this is one of them.The court has failed to delivered justice and we will appeal to Supreme Court.,” angry Chipeta said.
Lawyer for the State, Dr Steven Kanyuni said though the state would have loved Chamthunya to be given a death sentence, they were happy that there was justice to the issue.
Dr Kayuni said death sentence is still in the country’s laws and looking at the nature of the case, death sentence was the best.
“We are sissified with the judgement and we know that at last, justice has prevailed,” Dr Kayuni said.
Misonzi Chanthunya, a well-known businessperson was arrested in 2010 for killing his ex-girlfriend Linda Gaza at his cottage in Mangonchi. He flew the country to South Africa where sought refuge for seven years before being repatriated by the South-African Police back to Malawi. It is exactly ten years since the murder case happened.