13 November 2012

Namibia: Cattle Rustler in Court

Rundu — A middle-aged man yesterday appeared in the Rundu Magistrate's Court on a charge of stock theft. The court denied the Kehemu resident Paulus Haita (37) bail and adjourned the case to November 21, 2012.

Haita was taken into police custody after he allegedly drove two oxen from a farm near Rundu before slaughtering one and was caught red-handed - but he managed to flee the crime scene and abandoned the meaty loot, last week. Appearing before Control Magistrate William Kasitomo, Haita opted to conduct his own defence. Kasitomo reminded the suspect that stock theft is a serious offence, and that in the amended Stock Theft Act there is no option of a fine.

"Your Worship, I want to know why I am the only one appearing but my accomplice is not here?" Haita asked Kasitomo during his first court appearance.

The control magistrate then requested him to divulge the identity of his accomplice. "His name is Johannes and he stays somewhere near Kasote, Your Worship. I already told the investigating officer these things. Can the court please allow me to go out on bail because I have many children that I have to support?" Haita pleaded.

Since Haita has pending civil cases, some involving stock theft, Public Prosecutor Billy Lutaka opposed bail for him, but he is still eligible to lodge a formal bail application as stipulated by law.

Last week Haita and an accomplice allegedly entered Sarasungu Farm through a gate that a security guard left unlocked and drove out two oxen.

The security guard on night duty apparently spotted the suspects driving out the two oxen and followed them to the spot where they slaughtered one ox and then alerted his manager. When they arrived at the scene with the manager, the suspects had already loaded some of the meat in the car, which they eventually left behind after fleeing on foot.

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