HIGH COURT OF ZIMBABWE
HARARE, 30 August 2011 and 19 September 2011
MrMunyemeki, for the applicant
MrKachidza, for the respondent
BHUNU J: The three accused persons were denied bail in the Magistrates Court
on three counts of stock theft. Each count carries a minimum sentence of 9 years imprisonment. The presiding magistrate denied them bail on the basis that they likely to abscond. He reasoned that the strength of the state case and severity of sentence upon conviction were likely to induce them to abscond.
The facts placed before the magistrate were that the accused persons would steal cattle and fraudulently cleared them with the police using someone else’s stock card other than that of the owner of the beast. This occurred on at least the first two occasions.
On the 3rdoccasion the complainant recovered his stolen beast after they had already taken it to an abattoir for slaughter.
The accused persons claim to be innocent cattle buyers who inadvertently purchased stolen cattle from thieves. The mere fact that they actively participated in the fraudulent clearance of the beasts provides the necessary nexus with the commission of the offence.
The third accused claim to have been innocently associating with his co-accused but that is not born out by the facts. At p 8 paragraph two of the record he claims in his application to be a cattle buyer in association with his co-accused. The paragraph reads in part:
“The accused persons have been looking for lawful means of survival i.e. buying
and selling of cattle as is apparent from the state case. The state case is however
that in the course of that business they resorted to cattle theft”.
To make matters worse their accomplices have fled and are still at large. The magistrate’s fear that the applicants may follow suit are therefore well founded. In the result the application cannot succeed. It is accordingly ordered that the appeal be and is hereby dismissed.
Mapaya & Partners,applicants’ legal practitioners
The attorney General’s Office, the respondent’s legal practitioners