A SOUTH African professional hunter, Adriaan Philip Oliver, has been arrested after he trespassed at State House, where he was found in possession of nine live bullets.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Oliver yesterday appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court and was slapped with two months’ imprisonment or alternatively pay a $150 fine after being convicted of trespassing at President Robert Mugabe’s official residence.
The South African national, who is employed by Save Valley Conservancy Safaris, was arrested last Sunday morning by State House security personnel.
Through his lawyer Innocent Chingarande, Oliver pleaded guilty to the charge when he appeared before provincial magistrate Lazini Ncube, but told the court he committed the offence as a result of getting lost since he was not familiar with the city’s roads.
In passing sentence, Ncube said he was giving Oliver the benefit of doubt since he had told the court he was in Zimbabwe for the first time and could have got lost in the city.
Oliver further told the court he was in the country to attend to his child who was not feeling well and was not familiar with roads in Harare.
Initially, the State had opposed granting Oliver bail, saying the police wanted to further their investigations to establish if there were other motives behind Oliver’s trespassing.
According to the State, on May 7 this year at around 3am, Oliver was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser from Borrowdale Brook towards the city centre when he passed through a closed road at State House despite traffic signs erected to warn and inform motorists of closure of the road during the said period.
The court heard upon arrival at the point where the road was barricaded with police roadblock drums and spikes near Ngungunyana Building, Oliver failed to take heed of the “Police Ahead” signs and did not stop.
The court heard he proceeded to avoid the drums and hit the spikes, resulting in his vehicle’s front tyre being punctured and he stopped after driving for about 20 metres from the drums.
Francisca Mukumbiri appeared for the State.