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High Court upholds stock theft sentence

FRANCISTOWN: High Court judge Bengbame Sechele has upheld a five-year sentence passed on Letshikanye Ditshiki by a Magistrate's Court in Selebi-Phikwe in 2015.

Ditshiki was found guilty of stealing six cattle belonging to Kgosietsile Gabagane at Dimajwe cattlepost in 2012. 

Ditshiki had approached the High Court appealing his conviction and sentence on the grounds that there was no evidence linking him to the offence. 

He also contested that exhibits (cattle) were not brought to court for viewing as is standard practice. 

Ditshiki also claimed that he bought the said stolen cattle from Gabagane. 

However, Justice Sechele dismissed the appellant’s grounds of appeal. 

He said that the cattle bore two branding marks: one for the appellant and another for the complainant. 

“The appellant produced a letter showing that he bought the cattle from Gabagane. A handwriting expert was roped in and he concluded that the letter purportedly written by Gabagane was not authentic,” Sechele said.

Sechele also dismissed Ditshiki’s assertion that there was no evidence linking

him to the offence.

Sechele said: “There is overwhelming evidence that the appellant wanted to register the cattle at Dimajwe as his. The complainant managed to identify his cattle in the photo album. The investigating officer also testified that bolus that was found in the cattle belonged to the complainant”. 

The judge added that the complainant said he was having a painful headache during the trial. 

“The magistrate told him to bring a medical report to show that he was indeed not feeling well during trial, but the appellant failed to do so. In my view, the appellant should have availed the medical report to show that he was not fit for trial. The appellant was therefore properly tried and sentenced by the trial court. His conviction and sentence are therefore upheld,” Sechele ruled.


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