The appellant was found in possession of a stolen ox at least eight months after the theft. The case was founded solely on possession. The learned magistrate called upon the accused to make a defence and the appellant who was undefended gave evidence stating that he was in possession of the ox since 1971, thereby supplying evidence of recent possession. The appellant was convicted of stock theft.
(i) Where an accused is found in possession of an ox eight months after it was stolen it cannot be deemed to be recent possession to enable the court to draw the inference that the accused had stolen it.
(ii) Section 206 of the Criminal Procedure Code is mandatory and means that if, at the close of the prosecution, a prima facie case against the accused is not made out he is entitled to be acquitted. Hence, an error on the part of the trial court in thinking that there is a prima facie case cannot alter that position.