HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
by the Hon. Mr Justice Sir Peter Allen on the 4th day of May, 1988
accused is indicted on a charge of murdering his six years old
daughter Teboho 'Mefane on 31 May 1986 at Lower Seoli in Maseru
District. The accused is a builder aged 33 years.
evidence of all the 10 prosecution witnesses given at the P.E. was
admitted at the trial and the accused testified with regard
extenuating circumstances. The accused was married to his wife,
'Mamorena 'Mefane, in November 1975, They had three children
the deceased was the middle child. They lived together until sometime
in 1983 when they separated and 'Mamorena returned
to her parents'
home with the children and the household property. The accused made
several visits there in an attempt to persuade
her to return with him
to their home, but he was unsuccessful.
day in question his wife's sister came to the home of the accused's
parents where the accused was then
She told 'Mapalesa 'Mefane, the mother of the accused, that the
parents-in-law wanted to see her about the matter. 'Mapalesa
see them but they said that they wanted to speak to the accused
himself. She fetched her son and they both returned to
accused asked for his children. The father-in-law complained that the
children had been living at his home for a long time and
had been fed at his expense. He further pointed out that the bohali
cattle had not yet been paid. The mother-in-law added
accused should stop going to their home and demanding the children.
She added that the accused was not the only man and
that her daughter
could marry again.
accused pointed out that his wife was not only keeping their children
from him but she was also living openly with her lover
parents' home. He had pre-viously reported this to the police public
relations officer and they had questioned his wife
about it, but the
matter was not resolved. She had ignored the suggestions of the
police that she should return to her husband
with the children and
accused heard his mother-in-law say that he was not the only man he
was very hurt and upset. This was especially painful
because his wife
was living openly with her lover at her parents' home and she did not
seem to care about him.
accused said that he was so deeply upset and hurt by this that he
decided to kill his children and than himself. When he left
parents-in-law and started to
home with his mother, his children came to him and he took them to
the house that he was renting. They said that they were
hungry so he
gave them food. He then sent two of them to a shop to buy a soft
drink. While they were away he strangled his daughter
other children came back and asked what had happened to Teboho. He
told them that she was asleep.
accused carried the dead child to his wife's home where he found his
brother-in-law and told him that the child was dead. He
put the body
on to a mattress on the floor and left it there. He went to his
mother's home but she was not there, so he took a
bus into town and
reported himself to Maseru Charge Office.
On 3 June
1986 he was taken before a magistrate called 'Maseshophe Hlajoane who
recorded a confession from the accused.
is a straight forward one but also very tragic. The accused clearly
became extremely upset and depressed about losing his
family for so
long. On top of this the behaviour of his wife in openly living with
her lover at her parents' home was additionally
distressing for him. The terrible consequence of this was that he
felt driven to killing his children and then
himself. Fortunately he
was unable to carry out his whole plan.
he needed help but there was nobody to assist or advise him sensibly.
Otherwise the tragic death of his daughter would most
no doubt that the accused deliberately killed his small daughter and
so the proper verdict in such
a case is
one of murder. However, after listening to the accused and
considering all the circumstances of the case, I am convinced
there was considerable provocation and a piling up of pressure on the
accused which caused him emotional stress to such an
extent that I
find that there were extenuating circumstances in this case. The
assessor agrees with this verdict.
the accused is convicted of the offence of murder in extenuating
P. A. P.
J U D G E
for defence Mrs Mophethe for Crown
accused is aged 33 years and a first offender. He has killed one of
his three children and he has admitted all the circumstances
case which circumstances the Court has found to be extenuating. He
has already spent 2 years in custody on remand. He is
imprisonment for five years of which three years will be
suspended for a period of two years provided that he
is not convicted
of any offence involving violence to the person during that period. .
P. A. P.
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