Bench clerk, co-accused granted bail

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FRANCISTOWN: A bench clerk, Patrick Gaborekwe, and his two accused, charged with stealing court records, have been granted bail.

Regional magistrate Mathaka Masilo granted the trio bail on condition that they appear in court whenever they are required to do so.

Earlier, Gaborekwe’ s attorney Mishingo Jeremia applied for his client to be granted bail on condition that he enters into his own recognisance of any amount that the court will deem appropriate.  “The accused should also provide two sureties who shall only bind themselves and appear in court whenever required to do so,” Jeremia said.

Gaborekwe, Meshack Morapedi and Future Gobagoba are charged with conspiracy to defeat the ends of justice by allegedly acting in consent to steal two court records.

Morapedi and Gobagoba’s attorney Tshekiso Tshekiso had earlier on told the court that his clients would not apply for bail for now, but that if there was need to petition the court about it in future he would do so.

However, Masilo advised him to also apply for his clients to be given bail in order to prevent any unforeseen circumstances that may arise in future.

State prosecutor Senior Superintendent Omphemetse Mashiqa opposed bail, on grounds that investigations were not yet complete.

“We are left with about six or seven witnesses that we are supposed to interview. We pray that we be given time to complete our investigations before the accused may be admitted on bail,” said Mashiqa.

However, Masilo ruled in the defence’s favour saying that he does not see how they would interfere with police investigations. The magistrate told the police to complete their investigations in order for the trial to start in earnest.

He set January 29, 2016 as a date of status report in the matter.

Gaborekwe is also charged with allegedly stealing by person employed in the public service.

The state alleges that Gaborekwe on November 11 at the Francistown Magistrates’ Courts, where he was employed as principal bench clerk, stole two court records belonging to the state.

His co-accomplices Morapedi and Gobagoba are also charged with allegedly receiving stolen property.

The state alleges that the duo on November 11 near Engen Filling Station received from Gaborekwe two court records knowing that the aforesaid court records had been stolen.

The trio is yet to take pleas in the charges they are facing. They have implicated some magistrates and other workers at the court of also being involved in the matters.

Recently, Principal Magistrate Sijabuliso Siziba referred Gobagoba to the High Court for sentencing because he does not have the authority to sentence him to jail for more than the prescribed statutory mandatory sentence of 10 years after he convicted him of one count of rape. Siziba also sentenced Morapedi to six years in jail after he found him guilty of one count of rape.

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