A 31-year-old man caused laughter in the Kapiri Mposhi magistrate court when he begged the court not to imprison him because he would contract coronavirus and die while in jail.
Yohan Shenge of Soweto compound in Kapiri Mposhi was facing three counts of livestock theft contrary to sections 275 (1) and 272 of the penal code Chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.
Shenge stole two goats, 19 guinea pigs and one herd of cattle all valued at K6, 275 belonging to three different people.
He readily pleaded guilty to all the three counts.
In the first count, Shenge stole two goats belonging to Gelius Lwempe on 27 March 2020 at around 18:00 hours from the plaintiff’s premises in Kasanta area in chief Mukonchi’s chiefdom.
According to the statement of facts read before court, Lwempe secured his goats and went to sleep but when he woke up the following day, he discovered that two of his goats value at K 700 were missing.
Lwempe followed the trails of the goats which led him to a place where the said animals had been slaughtered from and recovered two goat skins.
Further, trails led Lwempe to Shenge’s house where he recovered some goat meat but the now convict had already sold some portions of it.
In count two, facts before court were that on the same day around 21:00 hours, Shenge stole nineteen guinea pigs valued at K575, the property of Aaron Zulu.
In count three, Shenge, on 19 March 2020, around 17:00 hours broke into a kraal in Kabwale area where he stole one herd of cattle valued at K5, 000 belonging to Olipah Chileshe.
Shenge was apprehended and charged with the subject offences on 28 March 2020 after eluding arrest for some time.
But when he appeared before Kapiri Mposhi magistrate Brenda Chiganda for judgement, Shenge asked the court to exercise lenience on him fearing that he would contract and die from COVID-19 if sent to jail.
However, Magistrate Chiganda observed that stock theft was a serious offence which needed stiff punishment to deter would be offenders.
She then sentenced Shenge to six and half years jail term with effect from the date of his arrest.