Saturday, March 25, 2023

Judge acquits three appellants convicted of stock theft

On Thursday, Francistown High Court Judge, Zibani Makhwade, acquitted three men, Lucas Motlogelwa, Jacob Kelebogile Lerotlhodi and Lebogang Lerotlhodi previously convicted of stock theft, citing that their trial lacked enough evidence, adding that the conduct of the trial by the magistrate was prejudiced.

Justice Makhwade was reviewing an appeal by the three men convicted of stock theft. This came after the state counsel, Rabosotho Reneetswe, who was the prosecutor in the trial, admitted in his submissions to the High Court that the trial of the three men was unfair, therefore, there was need for a retrial.

Rabosotho indicated that although the state had found the men guilty on the charge it had come to the realization of the state that the conduction of the trial was unfair because the man where not given ample time to find a legal representative.

According to the charge sheet, the three men on the 29th of September last year allegedly stole a cow belonging to one Philimon Ntsho, valued at P2 000, in Mhalapitsa Village in the Central District.

However, when giving their grounds of appeal, the first accused, Lucas Motlogelwa, told court that he was never given a fair hearing of the matter as he never had ample time to consult with his attorney. He added that he was forced on the matter, adding that there was not enough evidence for him to have been found guilty.

The second accused, Kelebogile Lerotlhodi, revealed before court that he was innocent and was prepared to be given a retrial. He illustrated that he was incriminated because the prosecution had told court that he attempted to escape from police when he was warned by the police to stop during the day of arrest. Lerotlhodi revealed to court that the police fired some shots without warning and he attempted to run because he panicked.
The third accused also pleaded with the court for a retrial.

In his ruling, Justice Makhwade stated that there was no case to answer as the magistrate court had failed to prove the guilt of the three accused. He indicated that they were incriminated and had no case to answer.


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