Tubusis farmworker acquitted of stock theft

24 Jun 2015 13:50pm
KARIBIB, 24 JUN (NAMPA) - A 36-year-old farmworker from Tubusis village in the Karibib District was found not guilty of stock theft in the Karibib Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Willem Witbooi was accused of stealing two nanny goats from a kraal in the village on 15 October 2012.
Delivering the judgment on Tuesday, Magistrate Lilian Mbaeva said the State could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused stole the goats.
She said evidence indicated that two shoe prints traced from the kraal to the suspect’s home matched shoes found there, while two goat carcasses were also discovered at his house.
Due to this, the court found Witbooi guilty of possession of stolen meat as he could not prove that the meat rightfully belonged to him, and sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment with an option of a fine of N.dollars 1 000.
The court suspended N.dollars 500 of the amount on condition that he will not commit a similar offence in the next three years.
Namibian law guarantees a minimum of two years’ imprisonment without the option of a fine should the suspect be found guilty of stock theft.
“Before arriving to the judgment, the court considered that you are a first-time offender. However, it also considered that theft is a serious offence especially when livestock is involved,” Mbaeva said.
She said the complainant suffered a loss of two female goats which could have reproduced.
“This court is expected by the community to punish offenders because if that is not done they might take the law into their own hands,” she said.
Witbooi told the court he was given the two carcasses by his friend ‘Jossy’ who absconded, and he did not know whether the meat was stolen.
“He (Jossy) asked me to assist him with the meat he allegedly got from his employer; that is how I got the meat and kept it at my house,” he said.
Witbooi, who indicated that he did not have money to pay the fine on Tuesday, was seen asking family members and friends to get money so he could avoid being locked up.
“I cannot afford to be locked up as I have to take care of my employer's animals at the farm. I am the only one there, so if something goes wrong I will be in trouble,” Witbooi told the court.
He conducted his own defence.