Thursday, June 30, 2022

Convicted felons plead for bail

Four men who were sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing fuel from an excavating machine in 2006, last week pleaded with Francistown Principal Magistrate Peggy Madandume to grant them bail as they struggle to get their case to be heard again.

The four, Ditshotlo Maleka, Daniel Peter, Kitso Fani and Modala Fani told Madandume that they want to seek legal counsel as their trial was unfair, prejudicial and riddled with irregularities. They said that they were never afforded legal representation, further accusing the prosecution of failing to give them a chance to read the statements of the accomplice witness, on which the court based much of its proceedings.

They also argued that the complainant was never present in court during their trial indicating that they were incriminated and convicted for a crime they did not commit.

“I want the court to grant me bail in order to consult with my lawyer and further be re-tried so that justice is served,” said the first applicant, Ditshotlo Maleka.

The applicants also said that they were given a very short time to read the statements of the nine state witnesses. They also accused their accomplice who had turned state witness of fabricating evidence against them.

State prosecutor Kabelo Goonyadiwe rubbished the bail application, saying that allegations that there was no complainant in the matter were unfounded as Kalcon was the complainant. He also cited one of the witnesses, Sera Makolo, as a second complainant as he testified that he was assaulted by the four during the theft.

“Makolo testified that while he was guarding the said excavator, the four men attacked him and tied his forearms. He also mentioned that they threatened to kill him if he said anything to anyone,” he said.

Gaonyadiwe added that the state managed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt even after the accused failed to plead guilty to the charge. He argued that the applicants were given enough time to consult with their legal representative.

“In totality, the applicants’ action was not justifiable in any way because they stole the fuel without the authority of the owner and had no justifiable position to use violence against the complainant,” Gaonyadiwe said.

The prosecutor also pointed out that the applicants did not suffer any prejudice, further imploring magistrate Madandume to dismiss the application as it was baseless and lacked merit.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper