A 33- year-old man of Maun got the shock of his life this week when Magistrate Clifford Foroma sentenced him to 10 years in jail for stealing P218. Visibly flabbergasted by the sentence, Phillip Gabriel of Sedie ward asked the court to give him time to go home and collect toiletry and lock his house but instead police offcicers quickly handcuffed him and escorted him to jail right away.
The court heard that on the 20th of April 2012 Gabriel robbed Ketshabile Jane of P218 by twisting his hand, searching him and running away with the money.
In mitigation Gabriel said that he committed the offence because he had no food at home and that he was overwhelmed by the burden of looking after his two kids and their mother.
Magistrate Foroma however made it clear to him that being unemployed was not an excuse to commit a crime. The magistrate went on to say that robbery was a serious offence that carries a minimum sentence of ten years in jail unless there were extenuating circumstances.
“Being unemployed cannot be taken as an excuse and to make it worse you are not a first offender, so I am forced to go for a minimum sentence.” Gabriel was once convicted of house breaking and theft. He also had a previous conviction of aiding prisoners to escape from custody. He was released in September 2008 and the magistrate said that it looked like he did not learn anything from that. Foroma also instructed Gabriel to return the P218 he stole. He was given 21 days to appeal the sentence. Ogomoditse Soonyana prosecuted while Gabriel conducted his own defence.