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A quartet of two men and two women charged for theft of copper wire have pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The accused persons Stephen Motlaleng, Phemelo Refilwe, Hellen Wanji and Netsai Manika were on the 26th of January 2023 allegedly found with 26 bags containing coppers wires at the Makalamabedi veterinary gate during a routine search by police officers on duty. The four are alleged to have loaded the bags in a bus travelling to Gaborone on that fateful day.
Appearing before Maun Chief Magistrate Thebeetsile Mulalu on Tuesday all the accused persons had nothing much to say than pleading not guilty of the offence. Manika on Tuesday finally joined the other three accused persons who are out on bail after prosecution opted not to oppose her bail application.
Investigating Offer (IO) of the case, Omphile Meraka of Maun Police told court that the accused person has two minor children aged 14 and 16 who she left unattended since her arrest .He further noted that Manika is not a flight risk as she has been staying in Shashe Ward as her place of residence for the past five years.
Mulalu subsequently granted Manika bail but on condition that she reports to Maun police station fortnightly, that she does not commit a similar offence while on bail and that she also provides one surety. All the accused persons will appear on the 4th May2023 for case management conference.
Meanwhile two men from Tsau village have escaped jail by a whisker after they were only sentenced to five strokes of corporal punishment for stealing Botswana Telecommunications (BTC) copper wires.
The accused persons Shepard Gaerenwe and Monnathebe Moroko who were found guilty for the offence were allegedly caught in possession of a bag of wires while boarding a bus from Tsau to Maun.
When delivering the verdict Maun Magistrate Keneilwe Kgoadi considered that the accused persons were first time offenders and that they are young as the first accused will be turning 21 years this year while the second accused will be 32 years.
“The accused persons are first time offenders, they did not say much during mitigation as they were visibly frightened and they did not rip any financial gains from the act. I therefore do not believe that these two deserve a maximum sentence for the offence,” Kgoadi said.
The magistrate ordered for the copper cables retrieved from the accused persons to be taken back to Tsau BTC station.