Local lawyer Trevor Brockerhoff has succeeded to overturn a conviction of stock theft in the lower court into a dismissal of the charge in the High Court on appeal.
Windhoek High Court judges Christie Liebenberg and Herman January had no qualms to release Elias Shikongo after Brockerhoff successfully appealed his conviction on stock theft. Shikongo was convicted and sentenced on 23 July 2019 in the Karibib Magistrate’s Court.
According to the facts of the case, Shikongo was the driver of a vehicle that transported meat from three slaughtered cattle to the value of N$45 000 from a farm in the Karibib district.
He was charged with stock theft and sentenced to four years imprisonment.
Brokerhoff argued that his client was hired by his co-accused to transport the meat, which he readily believed was legitimately procured, as he was presented with a permit.
He said the magistrate erred when she failed to give him the benefit of the doubt, as his version was reasonably possibly true in the circumstances in view of the undisputed evidence that he was merely hired to provide transportation and that a permit was provided to him.
This, the court heard, satisfied him that the meat he was transporting belonged to individuals who hired him.
He further argued the magistrate was wrong when she concluded that the appellant associated himself with the conduct of his co-accused whilst it is not in dispute that he did not in any way participate in the negotiations for the sale of the cattle and the slaughtering thereof.
The judges found that the evidence is clear that when the motor vehicle was stopped, the appellant fully cooperated with the witnesses who stopped them and enquired about what was being transported.
They further said evidence was produced that a transport permit was availed to the appellant when he was asked to provide the transport.
They further stated that it appears there was nothing sinister in the negotiations about the sale of the cattle and that the appellant was convinced the transaction was above board.
They further said that the appellant’s version was corroborated in material respects by his co-accused and there is no iota of evidence indicating the appellant associated himself or acted with common purpose with any of his co-accused.
“We find his explanation for his presence to be reasonably true,” the judges said, adding the magistrate erred and misdirected herself to reject the version of the appellant – and in the circumstances, he stands to be acquitted.