Francistown High Court Judge Bengbame Sechele recently convicted and sentenced two men accused of stock theft to seven years each in jail.
The court heard that on the 20th of September, the complainant Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Nunu Lesetedi received a tip-off that two of his cattle were kraaled at Sesola’s family kraal in Sese in the Mahalapye area.
Lesetedi was in Gaborone and immediately set off for his cattlepost but before he did so, reported the matter to Mahalapye Police Station.
A team of police officers was immediately dispatched to the scene and upon their arrival found the two accused persons loading two fresh carcasses onto a white Land Cruiser.
Inside the kraal were two fresh fetuses indicating that the slaughtered cattle were at an advanced stage of pregnancy.
During mitigation the offenders’ attorney Rabosotho had pleaded with court to be lenient when passing the judgment, as the two were breadwinners. He said if they go to jail for a longtime, it will spell doom for their dependents.
“I implore this court to take it into consideration that the accused persons did not benefit from their crime and that a compensation order of P50 000 has been made in favour of the complainant. The motor vehicle used in this crime was also forfeited by the state,” he made a plea
When sentencing the two, Judge Sechele said he had taken into account what was stated in mitigation but also highlighted the fact that the accused were convicted of a very serious offence.
He said stock theft strikes at the heart of an industry that has over the years sustained and defined this country.
Sechele further said the minimum sentence of this type of offence is clear testimony of the seriousness with which this offence is viewed by the law.
“It is indeed worthy to note that the accused persons are repeat offenders. They are persistent in their resolve to deprive the farming community of the fruits of its labour and this, in my view is a factor that I ought to take against them in aggravation. I have not, despite a thorough search found anything that extenuates the offence committed by the accused persons, let alone exceptional. The accused persons are in the circumstances each sentenced to seven years imprisonment which shall be reckoned form the 20th September 2019 being the date that they were first taken into custody,” said Sechele