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Bad start to the new year for cow thief

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A 30-year-old Maun man convicted of stock theft will languish behind bars until March to learn his fate.

Having been found guilty of stealing a cow and its calf valued at P3, 500, Tokollo Tsetse must now adapt to prison life as he faces a possible sentence of five years in jail.

The theft is believed to have occurred some time between April and May 2018 at Tsibogolamatebele cattlepost near Maun. The stolen animals belonged to one Kehaletse Xhanie

Presiding over the case, Magistrate Mulalo found Tsetse guilty after the prosecution, with the help of their four witnesses, were able to prove their case against him.

“You are convicted of stock theft on the basis that the cattle were found bearing a strange brand mark HUD2 as opposed to Kehaletse’s TDX of which the veterinary confirmed that it belonged to you,” ruled the Magistrate.

“The accused person in his sworn statement told the court that he lost his branding Iron of which he never reported to the police. Later he changed his statement to say that some unidentified people admitted to branding the cattle with the belief that they belonged to the accused since they were in his kraal. The contradiction of your statements is proof that you were not truthful, it was just an afterthought to mislead the court,” continued Mulalo.

During trial, Tsetse did not call any witness, claiming those he intended to call to his defence had died while he was in jail.

The prosecution backed-up their case with the testimony of Kehaletse and his brother Keoagile Mothibi, who told court that the cattle went missing and came back with a strange mark.

“My brother and I share the same kraal and one of his expectant cows went missing only to come back branded in a new brand mark on top of my brother’s TDX brand,” Mothibi stated.

The third witness, Crime Scene Investigator, Constable Meleko Paulson Mandevu revealed he went and took detailed photographs of the cattle before compiling a photo album.

The court papers state the cattle in question were later released into Kehaletse’s possession.

The cow has since died and the calf went missing. A photo album of the cattle was thus used in court as evidence that the named cattle existed.

Sentencing has been set for 6 March.

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