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An emotional mess

An emotional mess

Suspect loses cool in court protesting innocence

Emotions boiled over on a hot Tuesday morning at Francistown Magistrates Court this week when an armed robbery suspect lost his cool and broke down in tears, screaming that he was being starved in prison.

Claiming to have lost 17kg since his incarceration back in July, Gabriel Mutaurwa, 36, shouted his innocence from the dock, insisting he was not even in the country when the offence he was jailed for took place.

Begging the Magistrate to listen to him, the Zimbabwean, who is incarcerated at Gerald Estates Centre for Illegal Immigrants, told court he has a special diet prescribed for him by doctors,

“As we speak, your honor, I have lost 17kg of weight. I survive only by drinking milk when it’s time to eat because it’s the only thing I can eat according to my diet. Prison does not allow my family to bring outside food,” sobbed Mutaurwa, who is one of three men accused of an armed robbery at a dwelling in Tati Siding nearly three months ago.

He insists his troubles could have been avoided if the prosecution had ‘done their jobs properly’.

“I now have 71 days in prison while being held for the wrong reasons. I am an Agronomist by profession and I came to Botswana for a job interview, all my papers are in order. During our arrest, I led the police to my rented room in Tati Siding where they searched and never found any guns or illegal items in my room. I don’t understand why I am arrested,” continued the suspect, his eyes shining red beneath misting spectacles.

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“Am I being punished because I am a foreigner,” Mutaurwa demanded, directing his bellowed question at the case’s prosecutor.

He claims his only mistake was to catch a ride to the hospital from one of the accused, 32-year-old Leaveit Ndlovu.

“After leaving the hospital, Ndlovu asked us to visit his girlfriend, which is how we ended up being detained,” explained Mutaurwa bitterly.

His voice breaking with emotion, the Zimbo stressed his wife and kids, who reside in Harare, were suffering greatly in his absence. He revealed it costs his wife around US$160 (P2, 000) to make the 1, 270km round trip to check on him.

Unimpressed with Mutaurwa’s sob story, the Prosecutor accused him of harassment and asked the Magistrate to intervene.

“I believe the accused is harassing me, and I ask that this court bring him to order. It was previously stated that if they are dissatisfied with the ruling on their bail, they should appeal to the High Court. I’m also running late for another case at the High Court, your honor,” said the state prosecutor.

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This did not sit well with the Magistrate, who rebuked the prosecutor for attempting to rush things’ when a man’s liberty is at stake.

Mutaurwa and his co-accused are back in court on Thursday (20 October) for status hearing.

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