Police officer discharged of robbery

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FRANCISTOWN: Police officer Gopolang Mfana yesterday breathed a sigh of relief after he was acquitted and discharged of a robbery charge.

The state alleged that the officer and a Zimbabwean, Trust Nare, robbed Tuelo Zhola of a cellphone valued at P285 in Block One last year in November. The accused were also alleged to have threatened the complainant with a knife when committing the offence.

The two were initially charged jointly, with Onalenna Kelaotswe and Morekolodi Kokole, who were also acquitted and discharged of the offence.

Passing sentence, Principal Magistrate Sijabuliso Siziba said that Nare accepted snatching the phone from the complainant but denied using violence and acting in concert and in common purpose with Mfana to commit the offence.

Siziba said that Mfana distanced himself from the crime scene as well as the crime.

“The question is whether the prosecution have proved their case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The investigations officer and arresting officer alleged that they got information from the complainant that the accused threatened her with a knife,” said Siziba.

However, according to the evidence of the complainant no knife was used when the offence was committed.

“The complainant is the one who suffered a loss and is the one who is better placed to tell what happened to her. As it stands, the charge of robbery has not been substantiated and is hereby dismissed.

I have established that a lesser charge of stealing from a person has occurred. The issue now is whether the accused acted in concert or not,” said Siziba.

The magistrate said that the stolen phone’s SIM card was found next to the house where Mfana stays. Evidence shows that Nare was present where the SIM card was found.

Siziba said: “The prosecution had not sufficiently linked Mfana to the offence... I therefore make a finding that when the offence was committed Mfana was with Nare but there is no evidence that he participated in the offence.

The prosecution has proved its case against Nare beyond reasonable doubt and is guilty of theft. I also found that the State has not proved its case against Mfana beyond reasonable doubt and he is accordingly acquitted and discharged.”
Nare is due for mitigation and sentence on April 21.

Meanwhile, a 48-year-old man from Matsiloje appeared in court for rape. The state alleges that Kenneth Mahupela had sex with the complainant without her consent at Matsiloje on January 11 last year. Mahupela denied the charge.

Chief public prosecutor, Gasemotho Pitlagano, said investigations in the matter are completed and the state will call five witnesses.

Pitlagano added that he is not opposed to the accused being granted bail on condition that he reports to the police once a week, produces two sureties and attends court whenever needed.

Siziba granted Mahupela bail on conditions applied for by the state. He is due for case management conference on January 19, 2016.

In a similar case, a 28-year-old man of Matshelagabedi appeared before Siziba to answer for a single count of rape. The state alleges that Tshepiso Radijele had unlawful carnal knowledge of the complainant at Matshelagabedi on October 13 in 2013. Radijele pleaded not guilty to the offence.

Pitlagano told the court that investigations in the matter are complete and the state intends calling four witnesses to prove its case against the accused.

Trial has been set for June 19, 2016.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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