A trial magistrate of Otuke in Uganda was last week left speechless when a suspect appeared in court wearing his stolen clothes.
The magistrate was prompted to adjourn hearing all the cases for one week to recover from the shock, a police officer, who attended the dramatic court session, said.
This was the same man the Grade One Magistrate, Mr Benjamin Seruru, set free on May 24 after being remanded to Otuke Government Prison for stealing a bag of simsim, he added.
Jimmy Oteng, 34, a resident of Okelo-amone Village, Adwari Sub-county in Otuke District, had been on remand at Otuke prison for six months. He faced accusation of stealing one bag of simsim from the house of Mr David Okello, a resident of Okelo-amone Village. Oteng allegedly broke into Mr Okello’s house in November 2018.
However, Mr Seruru on May 24 decided to release him because the complainant had on several occasions failed to appear in court to testify against the suspect.
Just a day after his release from prison, Oteng allegedly raided the home of the magistrate and stole his property. He stole a suitcase containing four pairs of suits and other clothes, two 20 litre jerrycans of water, which he mistook for cooking oil, among others.
He was arrested on Wednesday.
A police officer attached to Otuke Central Police Station, who requested for anonymity, told Daily Monitor on Friday that Oteng also raided the homes of two prison officers.
The victims include Mr Longman Ogwang and Ms Jennet Alum. The police officer said Oteng allegedly stole cooking oil and other household items when he raided the homes of the prison staff. He later broke into the house of the magistrate.
Oteng reportedly took advantage of the heavy rain since the occupants of those houses were away for work.
“He was found hiding in a bush at Bar-odugu ward in Otuke Town Council by two hunters who called me and I went and arrested him. I found him in possession of several items stolen from the house of the magistrate including four pairs of suits,” the police source said.
He said Oteng was produced in court on Thursday before Mr Seruru declined to hear the case and remanded the suspect to prison up to June 11. He will reappear before Lira Chief Magistrate’s or Alebtong Magistrate’s Court.
The Otuke District Police Commander, Mr Edison Birema Turyamyamwe, on Friday said the suspect is a habitual criminal who had previously been charged with several cases of theft and burglaries.
Mr Mike Okullo, one of the hunters, at the weekend said it had rained heavily the previous night and by mid-day the following day it was still drizzling. So, they decided to go to the bush to hunt squirrels and genuine rats when they came across Oteng in the bush.