Philip John, a 42 year old former prison warder who is facing charges of shop breaking and theft has accused the police of torturing him and forcing him to confess to offences he never committed. Narrating his ordeal before Francistown Principal Magistrate, Dumisani Basupi on Monday, the accused said that the police arrested him last week, and took him to their offices where they tortured him, took his vehicle and his money.
“I was forced by the police to make a confession statement because they tortured me. They also took my money, cell phone and my vehicle which is still in their possession. They took my belongings saying that they are conducting investigations. I am innocent,” he told the court. John who is the second accused is facing the charges with two other accused persons, Thomas Itani ( first accused) of Borolong village and Keatametse Kapolelo(third accused) of Somerset Extension in Francistown.
It is alleged that on the 16th of October 2014, the trio and two other suspects who are currently on the run, broke into Sezi Investment store in Mosetse village where they stole goods and money worth over P17 000. John further dispelled the allegations leveled against him in court saying that he only went to Sezi Investment Store after one Tinashe who is currently on the run had offered him a piece job to fit a wall wardrobe at the store. He said that he was later shocked while in Francistown at Area W location on the 18th of November when the police arrested him and took him to the charge office where he was tortured and remanded in custody for charges of shop breaking and theft. “Tinashe who is currently on the run is the one, who gave me a piece job to go and help him fit a wall wardrobe at Sezi investment store sometimes in October 2014.
I was shocked to later learn from the police that the store had been broken into and money and goods had been stolen. I do not know anything about this crime,” he repeated. He however said that he will engage an attorney. The two other accused, Itani and Keatametse also pleaded not guilty to the offence. All the accused persons prayed with the court to grant them bail. The prosecutor, Oteng Selalame from Dukwi police station on the other hand opposed against the accused being granted bail. He said that investigations are still on-going. He further brought to the court’s attention that part of the stolen money has still not have been recovered.
“Some of the money that was stolen has still not been recovered and two other suspects are still on the run. If the accused are allowed bail they might temper with our investigations and witnesses,” said the prosecutor. Giving his ruling, the magistrate agreed with the prosecution that the accused cannot be given bail as investigations are still on-going. He also raised fears of the accused tampering with evidence.
“From all corners of the charge sheet I can see that this matter is still a fresh matter as it is an October matter. The police should be given a chance to do their investigations without any disturbance. You will further be remanded in custody and you must appear for mention on the 28 of November 2014. Bail application will be looked into on that day,” concluded the magistrate.