Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Bail denied to police officer in gun possession, stealing by servant cases

A sub-inspector with the Botswana Police Service at Gerald Estates police station in Francistown, Thembela Zane Mapini, who is facing two counts, has been denied bail by the Francistown Magistrates Court.

On count one, Mapini is charged with stealing by servant while the second charge relates to going armed in public.

The particulars of the first offence are that Mapini, on the first of April 2013, stole petrol valued at P674.10 which was government property that came into his possession by virtue of his employment.

In the second count, the state alleges that the police officer on April 3, 2013 without lawful authorization went into Gerald Police Station armed with a loaded firearm in such a manner as to cause terror to other police officer in the community service centre where he was based.

Denying the accused bail, the presiding magistrate held that if released on bail, the state is likely to suffer prejudice as investigations in the matter were still at a preliminary stage and incomplete.

“Here is a man who has been cautioned for stealing petrol and then takes to his heels, vanish into thin air, only to resurface with a loaded gun. The court agrees that the accused intended to threaten the investigating officer,” pronounced Magistrate Mpho Molema when denying Mapini bail.

The magistrate held that the state was likely to suffer prejudice if the accused was released on bail.

The accused’s plea has been reserved to the next mention where consideration for bail will be made if circumstances in the case changed.

Mapini’s lawyer, Tshekiso Tshekiso, had asked the court to make a ruling on the bail application.

At the last mention, the state had called oral evidence in opposition to the bail application. The investigation officer had testified that the accused was arrested upon suspicion that he had stolen government petrol. The investigating officer further testified that after being cautioned of the offence, the accused ran away only to come back to the police station with a loaded shot gun.

After the testimony, the prosecution submitted that the accused be remanded in custody because they had fear since he came to the police station with a loaded gun. The prosecution further submitted that the accused was a threat to the investigating officer as he escaped after being confronted by the investigation officer only to resurface with a loaded gun.

Seeking bail, Mapini testified that he is not a threat and that he only brought the gun to the police station to renew its expired license, adding that the gun has since been impounded and as such, he posed no danger to the police or the public.

On why he ran away before submitting to interrogation, he explained that he was afraid and intimidated on the back of the large number of armed soldiers and police officers who had descended on his house at the time of the arrest and investigation.

Tshekiso has indicated that he is appealing bail refusal application to the High Court.

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