The New Times (Kigali)

8 February 2013

Rwanda: Supreme Court Rules On Chicken, Tomato Case

The Supreme Court has sentenced Paul Bucyana, a poultry farmer, to five months in prison for using verbal threats against Saidat Yankurije, a tomato farmer, in what began as a simple misunderstanding.

It all started when Bucyana, who owns a poultry farm, relocated to Rusororo sector in Gasabo district with his poultry and acquired a house next to Yankurije. One day, his chicken strayed into Yankurije's farm, eating her tomatoes.

The latter took the matter hard and dragged her new neighbour to local authorities. A fine of Rwf5,000 was issued, but it only furthered the rift between the duo.

Attack and threats

When Bucyana was beaten up by thugs, he alleged they were hired by Yankurije. Prosecution said Bucyana threatened to hack Yankurije using a machete.

The incident that happened in January, then went before the High Court, where the accused was slapped with a 10-year jail term.

However, the Supreme Court later disqualified the charges of attempted murder.

Delivering the verdict, a panel of judges, led by Deputy Chief Justice Zainabu Kayitesi, said there is no proof that Bucyana had planned to kill Yankurije and that a weapon mentioned by the prosecution was not presented to court as exhibit.

The Supreme Court preferred charges of verbal intimidation against the convict.

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