Court acquits two over airtime theft

Two people who were accused of stealing K29,000 cash and airtime cards for MTN and Airtel all valued at K 104,375.00 from Lusaka\s Spar Soweto were yesterday acquitted by the Lusaka Magistrates court.

Royd Kabaso and Kabila Simbula were set free after the prosecution   failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

In his ruling Principal Resident Magistrate Obster Musukwa said in criminal matters, the onus was on the prosecution to prove its case against Kabasa and Simbula beyond reasonable doubt.

Magistrates Musukwa said in order to secure conviction, the prosecution must satisfy court on each and every ingredient of the offence the accused persons stood charged.

He said according to section 303 of the penal code under which the accused persons were charged was to the effect that a person who breaks any part, whether external or internal of a building or opens by unlocking or any other means is deemed to break into the building.

Magistrates Musukwa further said it was in this light that in order to secure conviction the prosecution could have charged Kabaso and Simbula with breaking into a building and committing a felony therein.

He said the particulars of the offence ought to have indicated with precision the case the accused ought to have met relating to abetting or aiding the commission of the offence.

Magistrate Musukwa said this was not the case in the matter as it was evident that Kabasao and Simbula were in the custody of the police at the time the money and other items were stolen and recovered. Magistrate Musukwa said he was dissatisfied by the evidence of one of the witnesses as her evidence was tainted and that her motives and her claims that Kabaso and Simbula were part of the scheme were false.

He said it was also his considered view that the fears of false implication had not been dispelled.

Magistrate Musukwa added that if indeed they were part of it as suggested by a witness and had the intent to commit the offence he had difficulties in comprehending why they became sitting ducks in a vehicle without their active participation at the crime scene.

He said common sense entails that they should have gone together with other criminals to the crime scene than merely being sitting ducks.

Magistrate Musukwa said there was a possibility that the two accused could have been given a lift and found themselves entangled with the police at the time the vehicle was intercepted along Kalomo Road.

From the circumstances of this case he said he was not satisfied that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and acquitted Kabaso and Simbula accordingly.

The prosecution called five witnesses and the two accused denied the charge.

Particulars of the offence are that on July 28, 2014 James Bwalya Kabaso and Simbula jointly broke and entered Spar Soweto and stole MTN and Airtel cards  and K29,527,00 cash all valued at K104,375,00 the property of Spar Soweto.