Three men jointly accused for the theft of cattle in the Karibib Magistrate Court are said to have issued death threats to one of the witnesses who had been listed to testify against them.
It is the state’s case that Efraim Seibeb, Immanuel Tjimune and Kalima Shikongo were found in wrongful and unlawful possession of three cattle suspected to have been stolen and could not give a satisfactory account of their possession.
According to a court document seen by The Villager, the prosecutor, after the matter was postponed for plea and trial, brought an application that the bail of the trio be cancelled.
His reasons were that a witness for the state had received death threats from the accused and the witness was afraid to testify in the case, and a full statement was taken from the said witness with full reasons.
According to Judge Usiku and Unengu, “The accused persons each responded by denying the allegations,” and the court made it clear that it could impose conditions for them not to get closer to the witness concerned.
The three’s bail finally got cancelled and were remanded in custody.
However, the presiding magistrate later excused herself from the matter as both Judge Usiku and Unengu said, “She could no longer deal with the matter as she became functus officio.
The phrase in layman’s terms refers to an officer or agency whose mandate has expired either because of the arrival of an expiry date or because an agency has accomplished the purpose for which it was created.
When used in relation to a court, it may also mean a person whose duty or authority has come to an end.
However, this has worked in favour of the accused as the order cancelling the accused persons’ bail has been consequently set aside and their bails have been reinstated.
The matter has been in the meantime referred back to the Karibib Magistrate Court to start anew before another magistrate.