Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
A Beatrice man was on Friday sentenced to an effective nine years in jail after he was convicted for possessing four live snakes and a yellow-throated lizard.
Blessed Morris (21) was caught carrying a bag with a python, a Mozambican spitting cobra and two olive grass snakes.
Morris pleaded guilty to possessing specially protected animals and moving animals without a permit when he appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Mrs Barbra Mateko.
In mitigation, Morris told the court that he inherited the snakes from his late father.
He pleaded with Mrs Mateko to release him claiming the snakes were starving at his home and wanted to go and feed them.
The snakes were taken to Zimparks offices for safekeeping.
“I am asking the court to release me as the reptiles are already at my residence waiting to be fed. If I remain in custody no one will feed them,” he said.
Prosecutor Ms Frascesca Mukumbiri told the court that at around 6am on July 28, Matapi police officers on foot patrol around Chishawasha Flats spotted Morris, who was carrying a ladies’ handbag.
They approached Morris and requested to search his handbag. Morris attempted to flee but the police officers held him back.
Upon searching his handbag, they recovered a Mozambican spitting cobra, two olive grass snakes and a yellow-throated lizard and a python which were wrrapped in clothes and thread.
They asked for a permit authorising him to possess the snakes and lizard but he failed to produce one, leading to his arrest.
The reptiles were taken to Zimparks offices where they were positively identified and valued at $3 572.