A 39-year-old man of Sojwe village received a tough lesson this week after court sentenced him to two years in jail for unlawful escape from custody.

Following his arrest on 8 July 2018 accused of stealing four horses from the village, Thatayaone Mokhumalo twice bolted from custody.

Molepolole Magistrate Court heard that after his initial arrest, the slippery suspect managed to escape from the cells.

After a brief search, police officers located and re-arrested the runaway man.

However, during the course of their investigations, Mokhumalo reportedly promised to lead the cops to the stolen horses.

Havingshown them where two of the animals were, he somehow managed to slip away from the officers.

During sentencing, Molepolole Senior Magistrate NthabisengMerafe-Tladi explained the court must consider three things, including: seriousness of the offence, personal factors of the accused and interest of the society.

“The accused asked for mercy saying he is caring for his two children and caring for his livestock. The law states that any person who escapes from custody is guilty of an offence but it does not state the specific punishment for that offence.

“However that is not the end of the matter because it says where punishment is not provided it shall be punishable to a prison term not exceeding two years, which means the accused is liable to prison term of two years for each offence he committed,” highlighted the Magistrate.

Although Merafe-Tladi found Mokhumalo guilty on both counts, sentencing him to two years for each, she ruled that the prison-terms should run concurrently – meaning he will serve two years instead of four.

There was more good news for the suspected horse-thief, with the Magistrate dating his sentence back to 9 August 2018, when Mokhumalo was rearrested. He has been on remand since then.

It means he effectively has one more year to serve.

“The court has been lenient to you. I do not expect to see you in court again,” warned Magistrate Merafe-Tladi.

Meanwhile, investigations into the horse theft case are ongoing, with two of the horses yet to be located.

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