HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
by the Honourable Mr. Justice J.L. Kheola on the 16th day of August.
accused is charged with the murder of Tsali Raleshoai on the 2nd day
of September, 1989 and at or near Likhetlane in the district
Leribe. He pleaded not guilty.
Trooper Bakoro testified that one day in September, 1989 he was on
duty at Maputsoe Police Station when the accused was
brought to his
office by the chief's messengers. They gave him an iron standard
normally used in fixing fence. The accused explained
that he hit his
mother with that standard. He cautioned him and charged him with
murder. The standard was handed in as an exhibit
and marked Exhibit
cross-examination Detective Trooper Bakoro said that the accused had
a wound on the forehead which appeared to be a
caused with a knife. He denied that the accused had a wound on the
jaw. He admitted that his clothes were covered with blood
was blood on his neck. The accused admitted that he had beaten up his
mother (the deceased) because she had not cooked
If I may
digress here, I wish to point out that the statement by the accused
to Detective Trooper Bakoro that he beat up his mother
latter had refused to cook his meat would under normal circumstances
be regarded as a confession to a police officer
and would be
inadmissible because it was not confirmed and reduced to writing in
the presence of a magistrate in terms of section
228 (2) of the
Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act 1981. However the confession is
admissible because it was a legitimate answer
aware that the accused denies that he made such an explanation. This
piece of evidence is corroborated by P.W.2 'Mamonare Raleshoai
testified that on the night in question she was already in bed when
the accused came to the door of her bedroom and reported
deceased had stabbed him with a knife. She asked him what the cause
of their fight was. He said they had quarrelled over
accused denied that Exhibit "1" was the standard he used
the deceased. He said that the standard he used was much shorter than
Exhibit "1" and was about 1½ metres
his story rather strange in that he is raising it for the first time
at the trial. At the charge office he said he had struck
with the Exhibit "1". He further says that he was made to
carry Exhibit "1" from his village to
the charge office but
he raised no objection that Exhibit "1" was not the
standard he used.
Rankhelepe testified that one morning in September, 1989 he found the
accused at the charge office. He was already under
arrest for murder.
He went to the scene of the crime with the accused. When they arrived
there he found many people gathered outside
a house. He saw blood
drops at the forecourt and noticed that the ground was disturbed. The
blood drops led into the house where
he found the corpse of the
deceased. He examined it and found the following wounds: a wound on
the left ear, three wounds on the
head, the right forearm was
fractured and there were bruises on the body. Sergeant Rankhelepe
deposed that the accused said that
Exhibit "1" was his
property. The accused had some injuries on the body and a wound above
the eye. He saw no wound on
evidence of 'Mamonare Raleshoai is that on the Friday
question the accused came to her place at about 8.00 p.m. and asked
her to give him some food. She gave her food. An unknown
and ate with the accused. She formed the opinion that the accused
knew that woman because they left together just after
appeared to be drunk.
12 midnight she was already in bed with her husband when the accused
came to the door of her bedroom and informed her that
had stabbed him with a knife. She asked him what the cause of their
fight was. He said the cause of their fight was
the meat. She asked
him to leave so that they could talk in the morning. On the following
morning she noticed that there were blood
drops outside near the door
of her bedroom where the accused was standing on the previous night.
to the accused's house accompanied by her husband. The accused was
still sleeping. He woke up and told them that he fought
deceased and that the latter stabbed him with a knife on the jaw.
'Mamonare said that she actually saw a wound on the
There was blood on the bed of the accused.
version of the accused is that on the day in question he went to the
home of Takalimane and drank beer for a good part of the
hours. From there he went to the home of
for the purpose of attending a etokfel. He again took a few drinks of
beer. He then went to the home of 'Mamonare Raleshoai
there until 9,00p.m. He left for the deceased's home where he rounded
up domestic fowls and put them in the house.
It was already dark when
he put the fowls in the house.
putting the fowls into the house he was busy fastening the door when
a person stabbed him on the chin. He jumped and moved
person stabbed him again on the head. He turned and tried to run
away. That person held him by his jacket. The
accused says that he
got hold of a standard which supported the pole for the line for
washing. As a result of the pull by the person
holding him by the
jacket, the standard was pulled out of the ground. He swung it
towards his back and struck that person with
it. He or she fell on
the tin or bucket used as a stove. During the struggle he had not
seen who his attacker was. Thereafter he
asked who the person was. He
discovered that it was his mother. She said that she did not notice
that it was the accused. She had
thought that he was one of the boys
who once invaded her.
accused says that the deceased said that she had sustained injuries
and that he must go and sleep; that they would see each
other on the
following morning. He left for the home
Mokhele intending to report to him what had happened. Mokhele was not
at home at that time. He went to his home and slept.
He denies that
he ever called at the home of 'Mamonare and made the alleged report
about their fight with his mother.
that the accused is telling this Court is not only improbable but it
is an outright lie. I have already remarked that
on the day of the
murder of the deceased he made a report to 'Mamonare that he had
fought with the deceased because they quarrelled
about meat. He made
the same report to two police officers on the following day. He never
mentioned that he was a victim of an
unlawful attack by the deceased.
He never mentioned fowls at all to anybody until the trial started.
told the police or the chief's messengers that Exhibit "1"
was not the standard he had used. In any case he admitted
used a standard which was shorter than Exhibit "1". I
reject that story because it was raised for the first
time at the
trial. He ought to have raised it to the chief's messengers and to
the police. I have no hesitation to reject it as
It is the
accused's story that he struck the deceased once with a standard.
However the injuries sustained by the deceased are not
with one blow. She had a wound on the left
three wounds on the head, fracture of the right forearm and multiple
bruises or injuries on the body. An attempt to justify
injuries was made by the defence by saying that as a result of that
single blow the deceased fell on a tin or bucket
which caused those
injuries. I do not agree with this suggestion. A single blow with a
standard cannot cause three wounds on the
head. It can cause a
fracture of the forearm and possibly one wound on the head. I am of
the view that the multiple injuries on
the body were caused by
several blows and the three wounds on the head were caused by
to the post-mortem examination report (Exhibit "A") death
was due to severe cerebral contusions and multiple
body injuries. The
lower and upper dentitions were broken.
come to the conclusion that the accused has told this Court a pack of
lies. The minor injuries which he sustained must have
by the deceased in self-defence. The fact that the ground at the
forecourt was disturbed clearly indicates that
there was a long
struggle before the deceased went into the house.
In R. v.
Attwood 1946 A.D. 331 Watermeyer, C.J. stated the general principles
entitling an accused person to an acquittal on the
he had been unlawfully attacked and had reasonable grounds for
thinking that he was in danger of death or serious injury.
the means of self-defence which he used were not excessive in
relation to the danger.
the means he used were the only or least dangerous means whereby he
could have avoided the danger.
the accused was acting in self-defence (a story which I have already
rejected) he grossly exceeded the bounds of self-defence
accused foresaw the possibility of the deceased's death resulting
from his assault but he was reckless as to whether death occurred
not. I am of the view that he had the requisite intent for murder.
accused is found guilty of murder.
- Mr. Semoko
Accused - Mr. Mathafeng.
common cause during the trial that the accused was drunk.
Intoxication is an extenuating circumstance.
found that the accused had the requisite intent in the form of dolus
eventualis. I am of the view that this is a proper
case where dolus
eventualis should be regarded as an extenuating circumstance.
found that there were extenuating circumstances. Sentence: In passing
sentence the Court took into account that the accused
is a first
offender, that he has been in gaol for about four years awaiting his
sentenced to six (6) years' imprisonment.
Crown: Mr. Thetsane
Accused: Mr. Fosa.
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