The former accountant of Copri Construction Company who was defending herself in a trial in which she was charged for stealing her employer’s motor vehicle has been freed by the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court.
Principal Magistrate Hilary Abeke acquitted and discharged Sanju Kumar, yesterday on the grounds that the prosecution failed to establish the ownership of the alleged stolen vehicle.
From the beginning of the trial, Mrs Kumar, now the Deputy Finance Manager of Afric Med Clinic has denied the allegation but in her evidence in defence, she admitted selling the vehicle to an unknown Senegalese at D100, 000.
She claimed that Copri Construction Company owed her salary arrears amounting to US$ 25, 700, saying the absconding of the Company’s Managing Director Paulo Pelizzeri, has left her in a financial predicament which forced her to sell the vehicle knowing that it belongs to the company.
Magistrate Abeke said in a criminal trial, it is a common ground in law that the ingredient of the offence charged must be proven to the satisfaction of the court. “In a theft trial, ownership of the property must be established. The prosecution did not lead any evidence to show that the said vehicle was not owned by the Sheriff’s Division but supposed to be among the attached properties of the Sheriff Division,” the magistrate said while handing down his judgment.
He added that no material evidence such as the judgment or ruling being enforced, the inventory and the writ of attachment of Copri Construction Company’s properties were presented to the court which, he said, contributed to the prosecutor’s failure in securing the conviction of Mrs Kumar.
“The court cannot speculate on the content of the earlier judgment being enforced. Judges are warned to desist from speculation. The prosecution has woefully failed to prove material evidence sufficient to prove their case against the accused.”
Magistrate Abeke further said Mrs Kumar in her evidence maintained that she did not know that the properties of her former employer were attached and under the custody of the Sheriff’s Division since nobody showed her the judgment and raised no doubt to the court.
During the trial, prosecution called four witnesses while Mrs Kumar testified alone without any witness.
Magistrate Abeke said that the said vehicle is not owned by the Sheriff’s Division but supposed to be among the attached properties which the prosecution failed to prove.
by Meita Touray