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Judicial CP - October 2004

Corpun file 14178

Botswana Daily News Online, Gaborone, 5 October 2004

Robber's hopes of returning to class dashed

GABORONE -- A robber's hope of going back to class next year were dashed when he was given a 10-year jail sentence at the Gaborone Village magistrate's court.

Thabang Ruele, 20, and Charles Ndlovu, 18, are alleged to have embarked on a spate of armed robberies between August 3 and 6 last year at Gaborone bus terminal.

The duo had pleaded not guilty.

In mitigation on Tuesday, Ruele pleaded with the court to be lenient as he was the bread winner at his home, to which the magistrate interjected saying "providing for the family by robbing others" would not be entertained.

"You know very well that it is wrong to rob innocent people of their hard earned belongings and claim to provide for your family with such items," Village principal magistrate Enoch Mazonde retorted.

He told Ruele that he could have instead got a decent job and avoided any brushes with the law.

Ruele also told the court that he had learnt the hard way that associating with the wrong crowd was unwise.

He said incarceration would ruin his chances of returning to school next year, adding that his future would be bleak.

For his part, Ndlovu asked the court to back-date the sentence as they had been in jail since August last year.

Passing sentence, Mazonde said the court had taken into account the duo's mitigating factors.

In addition, Mazonde said the two might have been influenced by their youthful exuberance in executing alleged crimes.

Mazonde said the onus was on the court to impose stiff penalties as a deterrent and "send the message loud and clear to wrong doers".

He said street robberies were prevalent and that not a single day passed without such crimes being committed.

Mazonde said even though a single culprit had been stabbed and was not seriously injured, the court would still punish the pair for their evil deeds.

They were each sentenced to 10 years for the four counts of robberies and six light canes (flogging) for each of the four counts.

Mazonde also advised the accused persons that they had the right to appeal to the High Court in 14 days if they felt the sentence was too harsh.

The sentence was also not back-dated as requested by Ndlovu. Mazonde also instructed that the stolen property recovered from the accused be returned to their rightful owners.

Mazonde presided over the case while sergeant Motshwari Mokamogo, of Borakanelo police, was the prosecutor. The two accused persons were unrepresented. BOPA

News Source: All local news stories were supplied by the Botswana Press Agency (BOPA)

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