Abel Zhakata Senior Reporter
VIOLENCE almost broke out at the Mutasa Magistrates’ Court last Thursday morning as irate villagers bayed for the blood of a well-known Sakubva bouncer – Simon Korera – who is facing eight counts of stock theft in which he allegedly cattle from communal farmers.
Those who witnessed the drama said the suspect escaped mob justice by a whisker after he quickly jumped into a vehicle and bolted from the court premises.
More than 75 complainants are alleging that Korera stole their cattle since 2016.
Some of the cases have been reported under Criminal Record Number 03/03/17 at ZRP Mutasa.
On Thursday he appeared before Mr Innocent Bepura facing six counts of stock theft. Korera who was represented by Mr Victor Chinzamba, of Mugadza, Chinzamba and Partners Legal Practitioners denied all the charges.
He will be back in court on September 21 for trial.
Mr Shepherd Chawararika prosecuted.
Allegations were that the suspect stole cattle belonging to the complainants at the grazing pastures and slaughtered them in the bush.
After slaughtering the beasts, the suspect allegedly took some cuts he preferred and left the remainder of the carcasses at the scene of the crime.
In one of the cases, Korera who used a silver Toyota Noah to carry out the alleged crimes, was found with meat in the vehicle whose DNA matched with the remnants of the carcass of a beast that had been stolen and slaughted.
After appearing at the Mutasa court, Korera appeared at the Mutare Magistrates’ Courts the following day facing two more counts of stock theft.
Cops handling some of the cases said more complainants were coming up and filing stock theft charges against Korera.
The affected Mutasa families have since formed a committee that is exploiting available avenues to ensure that their cases are heard expeditiously in a bid to recover the stolen livestock.
In a letter addressed to the Judicial Service Commission dated August 23, 2018 – a copy of which this paper – the victims complained that the wheels of justice were moving slowly to address their complaints against Korera.
“We are from Mutasa and are victims of stock theft which has and is still happening in and around Mutasa which includes Mutasa district centre, Domborutinhiri, Honde Valley and other surrounding areas. To date we have lost more than 80 cattle through theft and efforts to get a conviction even after accused Simon Korera was found in possession of some of meat from a stolen and slaughter bovine, have been fruitless. We strongly believe that the accused is the one who has been terrorising us since 2016 to date.
“The accused was arrested last year and was subsequently released after he restituted one beast through negotiations which were overseen by one of the prosecutors at the Mutasa Magistrate Court. The first complainant Blessing Gwandungwa, by his own submission, is saying that he was told to either receive restitution or lose his cattle…As a community we are appealing to your high offices to investigate and show reason why accused is being set free even where evidence is overwhelming. More so, why the court is being used by the accused to negotiate his freedom whenever he faces a conviction,” reads the letter.
The letter was also copied to the office of the provincial public prosecutor in Mutare.