Two men, Leonard Mabutho and Kwaita Mbikiwa, who are alleged to be involved in a series of robberies and other criminal activities in Selibe Phikwe and Francistown, were last week arraigned before Francistown Magistrate Siziba Njabulo to answer to four counts of illegal possession of a shot gun, three live ammunition rounds, explosives and dagga.
The accused were nabbed in Extension Location in Francistown on the 4th of July this year after a tip off from the public. They were then arrested where they were then remanded in custody.
However, after being read their charges on Thursday, the two men pleaded with the court to grant them bail saying that they need to go for medical examinations as they were brutally tortured by the police.
“As you can see that I am limping, the police brutally tortured me. I want to launch a case against them. I do not see any problem with the court giving me bail because the prosecution has not even established any evidence linking me to the said crimes,” said a distraught Mabutho.
The second accused, Mbikiwa, also pleaded with the court to give him bail saying that he was also brutally tortured by the police during interrogations, adding that he needed to go for medical examination. He pointed out angrily at the police saying that they do not have the right to punish suspects as the court of law is the one that proves one guilty.
“By torturing me, the police took the law into their own hands. I want to lay charges against them,” he maintained.
The prosecutor, Alexander Phale from the DPP, rubbished the claims by the two accused men saying that they should be remanded in custody as they are a flight risk. He said that the accused have other matters before the court, including robbery and unlawful possession of explosives. He also maintained that they can always access medical facilities while they are in prison.
“We even received fresh information that a warrant of arrest has been issued for the two accused men as they are implicated in another armed robbery and unlawful possession of explosives. The two accused are a flight risk and could interfere with the police investigations,” he said.
Giving his ruling, the Magistrate denied the two men bail saying that the prosecution has proved the two men are not fit for bail. He said that it is clear that the current offences were committed while the two men were out on bail, which then violated their bail conditions.
“It is common cause that the first accused has a case of unlawful possession of explosives in court and the second accused has another matter of robbery. If society is put at risk, the court cannot simply grant out bail,” he said.
The two men were not represented and they will report for mention on the 19th of July this year.