Magistrate seeks to block stocktheft case

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NKAYI provincial magistrate Thabekhulu Dube has filed an application to the Supreme Court to stop his trial, after he discovered that the hide of a beast he is alleged to have stolen had been destroyed and was not part of exhibits before the court.

REPORT BY RICHARD MUPONDE

He said the absence of the hide would make his trial unfair, as he wanted to ask some questions pertaining to it on issues alluded to by witnesses.

Dube said if the trial continued, it would be an infringement to his constitutional right to a fair hearing.

He made the application on Friday under sections 67, 68, 69 and 70 of the new Constitution, citing the Jealousy Mawarire versus President Robert Mugabe Constitutional Court case on infringements of one’s constitutional rights.

He is accused of stealing a beast from a Nkayi villager eight years ago.

However, the State represented by Admire Chikwayi, could not respond to the application and asked for a postponement of the matter to prepare a response.

Bulawayo regional magistrate Owen Tagu postponed the matter to July 19.

Chikwayi told the court that sometime in July 2005, the complainant lost his ox from the grazing area in Nkayi. He made a report to the police and the matter was investigated under crime register reference number 115/07/05.

However, when the investigations were still under way on July 28, the same year, the complainant was at Badala business centre in Inyathi when he saw Dube’s truck parked at the centre carrying some cattle to Bulawayo. The complainant indentified his ox in the vehicle.

He approached Dube and told him that one of the beasts belonged to him. The complainant suggested to Dube that they go to Inyathi Police Station to verify his claims.

However, Dube allegedly refused and ordered his truck driver to go to Bulawayo, where the cattle were sold.

The cattle including the complainant’s ox were sold to Colcom and the ox hide was sold to a tannery firm in Bulawayo.

The ox was valued at Z$7 000 000 and was not recovered.