Court frees herdsman accused of stealing cow

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A Kaduna Chief Magistrates’ Court, on Tuesday discharged a 40-year-old herdsman, Mohammed Burtu, charged with receiving a stolen cow.

The Magistrate, Mr Ibrahim Emmanuel, discharged Burtu, a resident of Karau-Karau village in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State, for “lack of diligent prosecution’’.

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At the resumed hearing of the case, the prosecutor, Insp. Musa Abdullahi, asked for an adjournment, to enable him to present the investigating police officer.

Emmanuel, however, refused the application, noting that the case had been severally adjourned because of non-availability of prosecution’s witness.

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The magistrate reminded the prosecutor that at the last sitting, he promised to produce the witness on the next adjourned date.

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“The case has suffered series of adjournments at the instance of the prosecution.

“Every person charged with an offence is considered innocent until conviction.

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“It is no longer in the interest of justice to adjourn the matter again, due to the failure of the prosecution to produce its witnesses in court.

“I hereby invoke Section 165 of the Criminal Procedure Code, to strike out the matter and discharge the accused for want of diligent prosecution,” Emmanuel said.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that on Dec. 12, 2017, one Adamu Yusuf, reported the case at the Kabala West Police Station on April 17, that one of his cows was stolen from him at gunpoint.

Abudullahi said that on Jan. 12, the complainant went to Sabon Birnin Market in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, and found his stolen cow in the possession of the defendant.

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He said that during police investigation, the defendant claimed that he bought the said animal from one Mohammed Isah, now at large, who claimed to be the owner.

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The prosecutor said that the offence contravened Section 278 of the Penal Code of Kaduna State, 2017.

Burtu had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

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