IN THE HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO In matter
MABOTE RALESHOAI Accused
Delivered by the Honourable Mr. Justice J.L. Kheola on
the 16th day of August. 1993
The accused is charged with the murder of Tsali
Raleshoai on the 2nd day of September, 1989 and at or near Likhetlane
in the district
of Leribe. He pleaded not guilty.
Detective Trooper Bakoro testified that one day in
September, 1989 he was on duty at Maputsoe Police Station when the
brought to his office by the chief's messengers. They
gave him an iron standard normally used in fixing fence. The accused
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 "1".
Under cross-examination Detective Trooper Bakoro said
that the accused had a wound on the forehead which appeared to be a
scratch caused with a knife. He denied that the accused
had a wound on the jaw. He admitted that his clothes were covered
and there 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
because the latter had refused to cook his meat would
under normal circumstances be regarded as a confession to a police
and would be inadmissible because it was not confirmed and
reduced to writing in the presence of a magistrate in terms of
228 (2) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act 1981.
However the confession is admissible because it was a legitimate
I am aware that the accused denies that he made such an
explanation. This piece of evidence is corroborated by P.W.2
who testified that on the night in question she
was already in bed when the accused came to the door of her bedroom
that the deceased had stabbed him with a knife. She
asked him what the cause of their fight was. He said they had
The accused denied that Exhibit "1" was the
standard he used
3 to strike the deceased. He said that the standard he
used was much shorter than Exhibit "1" and was about 1½
I find 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
the deceased 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.
Sergeant Rankhelepe testified that one morning in
September, 1989 he found the accused at the charge office. He was
arrest for murder. He went to the scene of the crime
with the accused. When they arrived there he found many people
a house. He saw blood drops at the forecourt and
noticed that the ground was disturbed. The blood drops led into the
he found the corpse of the deceased. He examined it and
found the following wounds: a wound on the left ear, three wounds on
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 the
The evidence of 'Mamonare Raleshoai is that on the
in 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
came and ate with the accused. She formed the opinion
that the accused knew that woman because they left together just
They appeared to be drunk.
At about 12 midnight she was already in bed with her
husband when the accused came to the door of her bedroom and informed
the deceased had stabbed him with a knife. She asked him
what the cause of their fight was. He said the cause of their fight
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.
She went to the accused's house accompanied by her
husband. The accused was still sleeping. He woke up and told them
that he fought
with the deceased and that the latter stabbed him with
a knife on the jaw. 'Mamonare said that she actually saw a wound on
neck. There was blood on the bed of the accused.
The 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
morning hours. From there he went to the home of
Lekepetsi for the purpose of attending a etokfel. He
again took a few drinks of beer. He then went to the home of
and remained 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.
After putting the fowls into the house he was busy
fastening the door when a person stabbed him on the chin. He jumped
and moved backwards.
That person stabbed him again on the head. He
turned and tried to run away. That person held him by his jacket. The
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
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
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
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.
The accused says that the deceased said that she had
sustained injuries and that he must go and sleep; that they would see
on the following morning. He left for the home
of one Mokhele intending to report to him what had
happened. Mokhele was not at home at that time. He went to his home
He denies that he ever called at the home of 'Mamonare and
made the alleged report about their fight with his mother.
The story that the accused is telling this Court is not
only improbable but it is an outright lie. I have already remarked
the day of the murder of the deceased he made a report to
'Mamonare that he had fought with the deceased because they
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
attack by the deceased. He never mentioned fowls at all to
anybody until the trial started.
He never told the police or the chief's messengers that
Exhibit "1" was not the standard he had used. In any case
that the used a standard which was shorter than Exhibit
"1". I reject that story because it was raised for the
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 an
It is the accused's story that he struck the deceased
once with a standard. However the injuries sustained by the deceased
consistent with one blow. She had a wound on the left
ear, three wounds on the head, fracture of the right
forearm and multiple bruises or injuries on the body. An attempt to
multiple injuries was made by the defence by saying
that as a result of that single blow the deceased fell on a tin or
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
were caused by several blows and the three wounds on the head
were caused by separate blows.
According to the post-mortem examination report (Exhibit
"A") death was due to severe cerebral contusions and
injuries. The lower and upper dentitions were broken.
I have come to the conclusion that the accused has told
this Court a pack of lies. The minor injuries which he sustained must
been inflicted by the deceased in self-defence. The fact that
the ground at the forecourt was disturbed clearly indicates that
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
of self-defence as:-
That he had been unlawfully attacked and hadreasonable
grounds for thinking that he wasin danger of death or serious
That the means of self-defence which he usedwere
not excessive in relation to thedanger.
That the means he used were the only orleast
dangerous means whereby he could haveavoided the danger.
Even if the accused was acting in self-defence (a story
which I have already rejected) he grossly exceeded the bounds of
as stated above.
The accused foresaw the possibility of the deceased's
death resulting from his assault but he was reckless as to whether
or not. I am of the view that he had the requisite
intent for murder.
The accused is found guilty of murder. My assessors
J.L. KHEOLA JUDGE
16th August, 1993
For Crown - Mr. Semoko
Accused - Mr. Mathafeng.
9 Extenuating Circumstances
It was common cause during the trial that the accused
was drunk. Intoxication is an extenuating circumstance.
The Court found that the accused had the requisite
intent in the form of dolus eventualis. I am of the view that this is
case where dolus eventualis should be regarded as an
The Court 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 trial.
He is sentenced to six (6) years' imprisonment. My
J.L KHEOLA JUDGE 16th August, 1993.
For Crown: Mr. Thetsane For Accused: Mr. Fosa.
African Law (AfricanLII)
Ghana Law (GhaLII)
Laws of South Africa (Legislation)
Lesotho Law (LesLII)
Liberian Law (LiberLII)
Malawian Law (MalawiLII)
Namibian Law (NamibLII)
Nigerian Law (NigeriaLII)
Sierra Leone Law (SierraLII)
South African Law (SAFLII)
Seychelles Law (SeyLII)
Swaziland Law (SwaziLII)
Tanzania Law (TanzLII)
Ugandan Law (ULII)
Zambian Law (ZamLII)
Zimbabwean Law (ZimLII)
Commonwealth Countries' Law
LII of India
United States Law