3 years for ‘unexpected’ goat theft

2014-02-23 14:00

An Eastern Cape man has been sentenced to three years in prison after “unexpectedly” participating in the theft of a goat.

Judge Belinda Hartle of the Eastern Cape High Court in Bhisho declined last week to reduce the sentence imposed by a magistrates’ court, which the goat thief argued was “excessive and shock inducing”.

Siyabulela Meva (35) explained that he had only been to visit a friend, when he “found himself unexpectedly joining in the commission of the crime with a friend who he had gone to visit”.

Meva said it was his friend who stole the goat and that it had merely been passed to him over the fence, after which it was slaughtered.

“Without being too clear on the extent to which he took part in the spoils, he added that he ‘took the intestines of the goat and gave them to another lady as no one wanted them’,” Hartle said in her judgment.

Meva’s legal team argued that the magistrate had “overemphasised the seriousness of the offence without regard to the appellant’s personal circumstances or the factors surrounding the case”.

But Hartle found that although Meva pleaded guilty, he demonstrated “a total lack of appreciation of the loss to the complainant of his valuable stock”.

“There is no disclosure either concerning what happened to the goat once it was slaughtered.”

The judge ruled that Meva could “from the safety of the other side of the fence have refused to be involved, but he stuck around for the slaughter and to the bitter end when even the intestines of the goat were divided up”.

Hartle said three previous convictions for housebreaking showed Meva had a disrespect for others’ rights to their property.

“The loss to the complainant in this instance of the value of his goat is not something to be sniffed at.”

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