A villager who went by the name of Fulai had married a girl who was under the age of sixteen. The accused was a village headman who knew of this development but however did not disclose nor report the matter to the authorities. He was accused of being an accessory to the unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of sixteen.
Whether the accused and the perpetrator should have criminal liability in light of these facts?
The court held that a man cannot be convicted of having unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of sixteen if he has married her .i.e. she is his wife.
This case reveals the dark-side of Zambian Law. Although statutory law prohibits marrying a girl under the age of sixteen, unless consent is obtained from a judge, customary law has no such limits. One would argue, is it fair to punish a person for having carnal knowledge with an under-age girl and then let the other go scot-free only on the premise that he is married to her? Does marriage then, act as a defence for such heinous acts? It seems this matter has to be taken up in parliament because clearly, something needs to be done.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Vigilante Scholar is not a body licensed with dispensing legal advice in the capacity of a legally mandated entity. The views and opinions we share are subject to correction, verification and authentication by the reader with the legally mandated government authorities. We acknowledge that the Council of Law Reporting retains copyright in all reported cases. Therefore, the cases we share subscribe to our opinion of the respective case and are to be used only for educative purposes i.e. discussion. This also applies to any photos and/or paraphernalia used under the exercise of fair use policy.
Please feel free to comment belowVIGILANTE SCHOLAR TEAM