HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
HON MR JUSTICE S.N. PEETE
DATE : 26th APRIL 2005
 In 20011 the accused originally appeared before this court
facing a charge of murder, it being alleged that on the 3rd day
November 1998 and at T.Y. in the district of Berea the accused
unlawfully and intentionally killed one Thabiso Molatelle. To
charge he pleaded not guilty.
inordinate delay in bringing finality to these proceedings in much
regretted as it can be attributed only to many a postponement
spanning several years. Both counsel could finally address the court
only on the 22nd March 2005]
1. It was common cause that at the material time, the accused and
the deceased who were bosom friends, worked as nightwatchmen
different business premises in the township of T.Y.
2. On the 2nd November 1998, a quarrel between the two men erupted
over a stick which the accused alleged he had lent to the deceased
but which the latter was unwilling to return.
3. It is quite clear that attempts to bring peace between the two
men had failed and the accused had even gone to report the matter
the T.Y. charge office where he did not get any meaningful
4. On the evening of the 3rd November 1998, the two men ultimately
fought and the accused inflicted certain head wounds on the
using an iron rod which was shown to have belonged to the deceased.
5. The deceased was transported to the T.Y. Hospital where he died
 The accused admits having caused these wounds but contends that
he acted in self-defence against the deceased who, he believed,
 The evidence of the crown showed that during that evening the
accused had suddenly rushed at deceased saying '''Here comes
- I am still looking for my stick"
 That the two men fiercely fought over a stick admits no doubt.
What was in dispute was whether in fact the accused was ever
threatened with a gun by the deceased. It is important to note that,
to the policewoman Toloane, the accused never reported that
had threatened to shoot him. It is safe to take the gun story as an
after -thought and this court has no hesitation to
reject the version
of self defence as false under the circumstances of this case.
 It is quite clear that because the deceased was refusing to
return accused's stick, the accused went to succour assistance
the T.Y. police but in vain. The crown has not succeeded to show
that, having failed in using peaceful means to recover his
accused — an ordinary mosotho peasant - was probably not
provoked by the stubborn conduct of the deceased. Though
it may smack
of triviality, Basotho men, it is well known, treasure their sticks -
it is part of their manliness or manhood. One
cannot say whether
anger on the part of the accused was unfounded.
 This court finds that when he struck the deceased on the head
with the iron rod, the accused probably acted in a fit of anger
caused by the deceased's conduct. This rod must have been used on the
spur of the moment before the accused could reflect upon
consequences of his actions. It was not an unprovoked assault. He did
not have the necessary intention to kill; indeed immediately
thereafter, the accused rushed to the T.Y. charge office and reported
what had happened.
 The accused is found guilty of the crime of culpable homicide
upon the legal reasoning that when he struck the deceased upon
head with an iron rod, he ought to have foreseen that death would
result. My Assessors wholly agree.
Sentence: Three years or three thousand maloti the two-thirds of
which suspended for three years on condition that the accused
convicted of an offence involving violence to person for which he is
sentenced to six months or more without an option of
a fine. Accused
is given till 31st May 2005 to pay the fine.
: Ms Dlangamandla
Accused: Mr Thulo
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