High Court upholds farmer’s 6-yr jail term for stock theft


The High Court of Zambia has upheld the six-year sentence slapped on a peasant farmer for stealing 16 cows.

Appearing before Lusaka High Court judge Mwila Chitabo, who is sitting in Livingstone, Chinkanta Mwenda was found guilty by a magistrate’s court and had his case referred to the High Court.

It is alleged that Mwenda, 35 on July 11, 2014 stole the 16 animals and sold them in Pemba and Kalomo. Mwenda, however, argued that the magistrates’ court erred in passing judgment and that there was no evidence that he had stolen the animals.
But Judge Chitabo said the evidence on record showed that 16 animals were stolen and the matter was reported to Pemba and Kalomo police stations.
Judge Chitabo said the magistrate in the court below was on firm ground in convicting Mwenda considering the number of cows, which were stolen.
He said the high number of cows stolen was the aggravating factor.
“I find that the trial magistrate was on firm ground in convicting and sentencing you. I also find that there is no merit in the appellant and it is false to believe that a first offender is entitled to leniency,” he said.
Judge Chitabo said since Mwenda sold some of the cattle, he made a commercial gain from stock theft that warranted the sentence.
“The sentence does not come with a sense of shock. I accordingly dismiss the appeal and uphold the sentence of the lower court,” said Judge Chitabo.

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