HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
matter of :
by the Hon. Mr. Justice M.L. Lehohla on the 12th day of December.
stands charged in two counts before this Court.
count is that of murder of one 'Masetho Majoro on 17th July 1987.
second count involves accused's unlawful possession of a firearm and
pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of culpable homicide in count 1. He
also pleaded guilty to count 11.
accepted both these pleas.
submitted that on the day in question P.W.1 at P.E. Mamonyeli Mokose
went to a tree planting party. While proceeding there
she saw accused
nocking , at the door to her house. This was very early in the
morning. She inquired where accused was going at
that time of the
morning. Accused replied that he had some
He elaborated that he had killed 'Masetho the deceased.
P.W.1 and accused went to have some private talk where accused
explained that deceased had asked him to shoot her. This we
was uttered in mere jest and was not seriously meant. It appears that
in the same vein of lightheartedness deceased said
she wanted to be
shown by accused if that thing worked (meaning the gun).
that the gun was empty and therefore not lethal accused went ahead
and when he pulled the trigger a shot rang out and deceased
the ground injured.
says accused had told her that he had pointed the gun to the side and
not at deceased, but because when trigger was pulled
to fool about deviated the gun from where it was pointed, and it shot
her. That is how she got injured.
succumbed to the wound and died.
nature and extent of the injury appears in the report that was made
by Dr. Oliver who performed the post mortem and established
death was due to haemorrhage into the pericardial sac. He also
noticed that there was a circular wound on the left clavicle.
found accused guilty on both the reduced count and the second count
on his own plea.
mitigation Mr. Ramodibedi submitted that accused is a first offender.
Indeed the crown on its part had submitted that the facts
the evidence in its possession showed that this was a pure accident.
the court will always take an objective view that a charge of
culpable homicide has as its integral part the element of
This is what in his plea accused is presumed to have understood.
indeed amazed when it was submitted on behalf of accused that as
accused is not trained in the use of firearms he could not
expected to have known that there was a live bullet in that gun. I am
not persuaded by the obvious extension of this submission
appears to me to imply accused did not appreciate that firearms
whether loaded or empty, have to be treated with caution
for they are
dangerous as this instant case has proved.
appreciates the trauma that it is regarded accused is going to suffer
perhaps for the rest of his days this side of the grave.
prepared to take a favourable view of the fact that accused
immediately confessed his crime and helped the police in their
investigation and has further demonstrated the same attitude before
this Court by pleading guilty and not wasting the time of the
I accept therefore that he is genuinely remorseful.
the factors which influence the Court in his favour with regard to
sentence yet a fine balance has to be maintained because
interests are considered the interests of the society too should not
be overlooked especially where human life has been
the least sentence I am prepared to impose in count 1 is that of
M1000 or 12 months' imprisonment of which half is
suspended for two
years on condition that he be not convicted of an offence involving
violence to a person committed during the
period of the suspension.
In count 11 accused is sentenced to M200.00 or six months'
J U D G E
: Mr. Mokhobo
Defence : Mr. Ramodibedi.
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