Sunday, June 23, 2024

Judgment reserved in cross border theft of horses

Lobatse High Court judge Michael Leburu has reserved judgment in an appeal brought before his Court by Benny Copper who was convicted for having been found in possession of horses believed to have been stolen from Namibia and sentenced to six years imprisonment.

In his appeal, Copper said that the state has failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt as prosecution witnesses were untruthful and contradicted themselves and exhibits were not brought before the Court.

He was not afforded adequate time and facilities to prepare for his defence , trial was unfair and that it was possible that by the time the appeal is heard, he would have completed his sentence.

Opposing the application, Mpho Mmolainyane of the Directorate of Public Prosecution submitted that the state case had been proved beyond reasonable. On the appellant submission that prosecution witnesses had contracted themselves when giving evidence, Mmolainyane said that there may well have been inconsistencies only. The applicant, he also submitted, does not point out the
contradictions which will render the witnesses untruthful.

Further to that, some of the witnesses were the applicant’s relatives who included his mother as well as cousins who have all said that they have seen him coming with three horses, two of which were later recovered from him by the police. The applicant’s mother had also told the Court that applicant used to have horses but that they had all died.

The applicant’s herd boy, Mmolainayana, had also told the Court that whilst at the cattle post in Zutshwe, the applicant and two others who were found guilty for the same offence came riding three horses and told him they got them from Namibia.

Evidence, he further submitted, was produced showing that border fence was made loose at the poles facilitating the crossing of the horses from Namibia to Botswana and also that the six-year sentence against the appellant will not have been served neither a substantial part of it by the time his appeal is heard.

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