Scottburgh Court Round-up

OFFENCE AGAINST THE PERSON:

An elderly resident of Umkomaas, who had been bitten by a vicious dog, withdrew the criminal charge she had brought against the owner of the dog. She told the Rising Sun that she would be suing for damages instead. She said that she was asking for R100 000, but that the dog owner had said that he could not afford such a large amount. If the two sets of attorneys cannot reach an agreement on the amount being claimed by the victim, the matter will have to be heard in civil court.

TRAFFIC OFFENCE:

A young male intern at Sappi Saiccor pleaded guilty to a charge of drunk driving. In mitigation of sentence he told the court that he had not intended to drink and drive, but that unexpected circumstances had made it necessary for him to assist a friend. He was fined R4 000 or 4 months in prison, half of which was suspended for 5 years. The court agreed not to suspend his licence as he needed it to get to and from work, and also needed it in the performance of his duties.

FISHING OFFENCE:

• A 36 year old father of one from Park Rynie, pleaded guilty to exceeding the legal bag limit of 4 shad, by removing 15 shad from the sea at Bazley Beach. He was fined R6 000 or 6 months in prison, half of which was suspended for 5 years. Magistrate Linda warned him that in future, if he were feeling greedy, he should focus on netting sardines.

THEFT & ROBBERY:

• A 27 year old unemployed mother of 2 pleaded guilty to stealing goods to the value of R774 from Checkers in Scottburgh. She was fined R2 000 or 2 months in prison, half of which was suspended for 5 years. Magistrate Linda told her that there was no excuse for stealing when the government did provide social grants to those in need. Sthembiso Mgobozi (32) pleaded guilty to two separate charges of theft. On count 1, he pleaded guilty to stealing chocolates to the value of R135 from Moodley’s Spar in Umkomaas. On count 2 he pleaded guilty to stealing a wallet containing R300 in cash. He also admitted to 9 previous convictions for a variety of offences including housebreaking, assault, possession of a dangerous weapon, theft, robbery and possession of dagga. In passing sentence, Magistrate Mzila noted that he had begun his criminal career at an early age, and that he displayed no interest in reforming himself or in seeking treatment for his anti-social behaviour. She sentenced him to a total fine of R5 000 or 11 months in prison. She also reaffirmed a previous court’s decision that he was unfit to possess a firearm.

• The 5 alleged Scottburgh Foschini burglars made another appearance in court, this time appearing at a formal bail application hearing. Two of the accused, a male and a female, who are allegedly first time offenders, have already been granted bail. The other three, Njabulo Msomi, Thulani Zondi and Thabang Mamputswe, all have previous convictions. In presenting evidence before Magistrate Linda, as to why they should be granted bail, Msomi, a father of 3, denied any knowledge of the burglary. He stated that he worked as taxi conductor and casual construction labourer in Umgababa, and that he had been pistol whipped by the arresting officer, at his home, on the night of July 2 (the date of the burglary).

The prosecutor pointed out that according to the police docket, he had in fact been arrested by the Umkomaas SAPS on July 4. A laptop, perfumes and cell ‘phones (still in their original packaging) and a quantity of underwear (all with Foschini price tags intact) had been found in his home. Msomi claimed that he had bought the goods from a dealer at the Umgababa taxi rank.

He admitted to 5 previous convictions for possession of dagga, possession of an illegal firearm & ammunition, possession of heroin and possession of mandrax, but denied that he was a drug addict. Zondi, a father of 4, also claimed that he had been assaulted at his Umgababa home by members of the Umkomaas SAPS, on the night of his arrest (July 2).

He denied any knowledge of the burglary and accused the arresting officer of planting an allegedly stolen cell ‘phone in his home. He admitted that he was facing a charge of possession of an illegal firearm and that he was due to appear in the Umbumbulu court on July 30. Mamputswe, who is a Sotho speaker from Mpumalanga province, and a father of 3, was arrested on July 3.

A self-employed carpenter and plumber, earning a substantial income from his business, he admitted to 9 previous convictions for theft and for housebreaking. He is currently on parole for housebreaking in Middelburg, Mpumalanga. Mamputswe claimed that the cell ’phones found in his home, belonged to his cousin who is a cell ‘phone dealer. He denied that the laptop, perfumes and clothing found in his home were stolen, saying that they were his legally purchased property.

All three men were denied bail.

The Dept. of Correctional Services in Mpumalanga has been informed that Mamputswe is in custody in KZN.

  AUTHOR
MSCRS Reporter

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