A dyed-in-the-wool housebreaker and thief has blamed Francistown’s increasing levels of poverty for his criminal activities.
Tumelano Poloko (28) of Newstands pleaded with the court in mitigation that lack of employment led him to commit crime. This after Poloko pleaded guilty to two single counts of shop breaking and stealing.
Poloko admitted breaking into the Re Ja Re Eme Bar at the Satellite Shopping Complex and stealing P7, 756. According to court papers, Poloko sneaked into the bar through the roof of the building and stole the cash in the small hours of April 12, 2014.
Poloko was convicted and sentenced to six strokes of the cane. In 2007 he got four strokesfor a similar offense.
The convict told the court that he is a father of two young school-going children who look up to him for both financial and moral support.
“Imposing a custodial sentence would deny my children an opportunity to have that moral and financial support from me,” said the convict when supplicating for the presiding officer to have mercy on him.
Poloko said his children are in desperate need of winter clothing. The court heard that his children are shivering all the way to school because they do not have warm winter clothing to wear.
“I was forced into committing this offense because I wanted to buy my children winter clothing and provide for them financially,” said Poloko, sending a fully-packed court gallery into fits of laughter.
Sentencing Poloko, Siziba took into consideration that the convict pleaded guilty to the offense saying it is a sign of a high degree of contrition. However, Siziba noted that Poloko is not a first offender.
Siziba argued that to leniently impose a suspended sentence on Poloko would send a wrong message to him and the nation at large; that crime pays.
“The fact that you were convicted of a similar offence in 2007 clearly shows that you have not repented. There is a danger that you might be tempted to eke out a living from crime if the courts continue to temper justice with mercy,” explained Siziba.