IN THE HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
In the matter of :
LIPHOLO KHOABANE HELD AT BUTHA-BUTHE
Delivered by the Hon. Mr. Justice M.L. Lehohla on the 10th day of December ,1991
It is stated that the accused at the time of the offence was aged 14; which would make him 15 this year. The submission made by the Crown basing itself on the preparatory examination record shows that the deceased Kemaketse Sekoboto was a herdboy aged 13 at the time and that he was on the day in question, that is 26th July 1990, last seen 1n the company of the accused. It 1s common cause that both the deceased and the accused were herdboys.
At the time when it was expected that the deceased should also return from the veld he failed to do so; a search was mounted for him and 1t led to the discovery of his dead body 1n the veld at a place which was not far away from where he was last seen with the accused.
The accused naturally had been confronted with the questions concerning the whereabouts of the man whom he was last seen with but he denied
any association with the deceased at a place where it was alleged they had last been seen together. But because of the strength of the suspicion centered on the accused, he was arrested.
While under more interrogation he made a statement to the police which he repeated before the Magistrate - and it is important to note that the statement he made was made voluntarily and freely. In it he stated that he had had a quarrel with the deceased over the deceased's parents' cattle trespassing on the accused's parents' field. And when he taxed the deceased about this trespass, the latter reacted angrily and made to deliver a stick blow which the accused warded off. The deceased made a further attack with a knife which the accused wrested from his grip and stabbed the deceased with it three times in the abdominal area. The accused also hit the deceased on the head with a stick and left him there. The deceased had by then already died.
The medical evidence consists almost on every detail with the number of injuries discovered on the deceased, and the nature of the injuries are in conformity with the instruments allegedly used, namely, three stab wounds on the abdomen area, and fractured skull, showing that a knife and a stick had been used to inflict the injuries. The doctor put the cause of death as injury to the head and combination of this and internal haemorrhage.
The Postmortem Report was handed in marked Exhibit "A" and the accused's confession was handed in and marked Exhibit "B".
In mitigation the accused's Counsel, Mr. Mathafeng, set a great store by the fact that the accused pleaded guilty to Culpable Homicide which is an indication that he is remorseful. I accept this submission and hope that it should come out in the wash later.
It was also stated that the deceased was an initial aggressor and this is borne out in evidence; and the field that had been trespassed on by the deceased's parents' cattle was the accused's parents' field.
I am told that the accused was only 14 years of age when the offence was committed. It seems to be common cause between the Crown and the Defence - well it being common cause that the accused was 14 despite his looks - one can't quarrel with that - it was pleaded that the accused be given suspended sentence because of the factors outlined above.
Indeed yes, an individual accused person deserves of individual treatment, but the Court would be falling in its duty if a blanket sort of attitude is cast on all accused generally because of the reasons outlined above. Regard being had to the fact that human life is Sacred, - but I am not in anyway trying to renege on my promise that the accused's attitude before this Court is going to gain its own rewards.
In the circumstances, therefore, the most lenient sentence the Court feels it can impose and can meet the justice of the case is that the accused be given two years' imprisonment the whole of which is suspended for two years on condition
that he is not convicted of the crime involving violence to a person committed during the period of the suspension.
10th December, 1991
For Crown : Mr. Thetsane For Defence: Mr. Mathafeng
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