HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
- Miss Motinyane
Defence - Mr. Molapo
- ON - SENTENCE
by the Honourable Mr Justice T Monapathi on 7th day of November,
already convicted the Accused on a verdict of culpable homicide. My
judgement speaks about the
of the Accused and the crime with which he has been convicted. In the
end I made a finding that he negligently killed
his wife. The facts
show that it was a sad episode.
for the evidence that we have had about the events of the fateful day
being the events that happened before the fight itself
we can only
rely on the statements of the Accused and no
PW 1 (Mahooana) could only testify about what he saw of the fight
outside the house.
scenario shows that there was an element of drunkenness as I believed
both PW1 and the Accused. That was the situation
preceding the fight.
This ended in a fight in which the Deceased was killed with a knife.
It was reportedly two blows but the wound
that killed the Deceased
was somewhere along the back
satisfied that there was a strong element of provocation of this
Accused by the Deceased. In no way did I feel that the Accused
with intention to kill his wife. I also took cognizance of the
character of Accused as testified to by PW1 Mahooana. A kind
liked man. This was said as against the character of the Deceased.
The important thing is that a fight was provoked as
I have elicited
in my judgement. Now I have to sentence the Accused.
said Accused has no previous convictions. This means that he has not
in the past brushed against the law. We may safely say
all along he has been a law abiding citizen.
that it is said Accused has a child and grandchildren. He has a lot
of responsibility for the upkeep of the children in the
his Deceased wife. I am informed that despite having brought an end
to the life of his wife Accused has been invited
to the funeral or
was informed of the death of the wife of his brother-in-law as a sign
of recognition of his status as son-in-law.
I however, cannot ignore
that he has disobeyed the law by committing a serious crime.
has a purpose in sentencing people who have transgressed the law like
the Accused as punishment. The purpose of a sentence
retributive and rehabilitative. That is why in extreme cases an
accused person has to be imprisoned and put in custody for
of time fixed by a court of law as a show of extreme displeasure at
his wrong doing. Sometimes,
he is kept away from the community because he is danger to the
society in which he lives. Sometimes a convicted accused
is not sent
directly to prison because such imprisonment term is suspended or
other forms of punishment are imposed.
urges me that a suspended prison sentence is ideal in the present
circumstances. Indeed I am mindful that a sentence should
sentence that does not disparage nor interfere with the reputation or
the integrity of the courts or the administration of
justice. Such a
bad sentence can be one that is too lenient. On the other hand it
should not be shockingly harsh on the Accused.
Although the purpose
is to bring about a balance, this is difficult in practice. There is
however no need to allow a perception
that extreme measures can
easily be resorted to without good reasons.
mindful and this is uppermost in my mind that the Deceased was a wife
of the Accused. By his hand the Accused has caused loss
of a precious
life for which he must be punished.
the Deceased will not come back to life. That is the essence of the
the Accused was in prison awaiting trial for about four (4) years.
This I consider as being significant. Again the Accused's
taken a considerable time. This must have had a toll on the Accused
feeling is that and my assessor agrees that the Accused ought to be
sent to prison five (5) years. But this sentence is suspended
condition that he does not commit a similar offence within a period
of three (3) years from the time of his sentence. This enables
Accused to go back to his community, to be a good citizen while this
sentence (while it is suspended) will be hovering over
will also perform customary rituals to cleanse himself and appease
his ancestors. He will also call his in-laws and next-of-kin
that he is remorseful and intends to restore by atoning the feelings
of those close to the Deceased.
traditional view is that the offender has to repair the offence and
bring back the natural balance which has been disturbed
by the crime.
It is called for Restorative Justice (RJ). As Moffat Karambamuchero
(May His Soul Rest In Peace) said. "Restorative
Justice is based
on the old common sense understanding of wrongdoing.
"Crime was understood traditionally to be a violation of people
and/or inter personal relationships. That a violation in turn
an obligation or kills an obligation that existed before a crime. The
existing peace is disturbed as a result of a crime
and RJ restore
this. Currently crime is a violation of the law. In RJ crime is a
violation of the people which is an injustice."
is released on above conditions of his punishment; that is he is
sentenced to a period of imprisonment for five (5) years
suspended for three (3) years on condition that he does not commit a
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