A policeman escaped jail by a whisker for chewing gum in court last Friday..
Tshokolo Thabakanaka, a 41-year- old cop stationed at the Masunga Police Station in the North East District was appearing in court for attempted murder and threat to kill charges when he was nearly locked up for chewing gum.
Not amused by Thabakanaka’s behaviour, Senior Francistown Magistrate Dumisane Basupi immediately reprimanded him and instructed that the accused be issued with a remand warrant..
“What are you chewing,” asked the magistrate. “It is a chewing gum,” replied the police officer spitting out the gum.
“And you wanted to chew it in court?” asked the magistrate. Thabakanaka answered that he did not, but had forgotten to spit out the bubblegum when he was entering the courtroom.
Basupi then summoned his police escort to prepare the accused person’s remand warrant so that he could ‘continue chewing gum in prison until the 12th of July 2013” when he is scheduled to appear again.
However, after the court proceedings, Basupi summoned Thabakanaka to his chambers and pardoned him after he had apologized profusely.
“People generally do not respect the court.
But it is worse here in Francistown. And I am just doing this to warn people about dressing and orders in court.
It is not me alone but all other magistrates feel the same,” the magistrate said in a separate interview.
Meanwhile, the court heard that on or about the 16th of May 2011 near Government camp in Francistown, Thabakanaka allegedly attempted to cause the death of his wife by shooting at her.
On the same day, Thabakanaka allegedly threatened to kill one Amon Moabi Baitsile by pointing a gun at him thereby causing him to receive death threats in the process.
Thabakanaka’s wife, who is also a police officer has been secretly transferred to another station after she expressed fears that her husband of many years may eventually carry out the death threats.