HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
matter of :
by the Hon. Mr. Justice M.L. Lehohla on the 22nd day of August. 1989.
accused now aged 20 years is charged with the murder of Kolomane
Lehana, who died from a stab wound inflicted between his shoulders
25th June 1987.
accused pleaded guilty to the charge but a plea of not guilty was
entered in order to enable the crown to discharge the onus
the crime committed beyond reasonable doubt. The charge is of murder.
evidence of P.W.1 D/Sgt Mokoroane P.W.3 Dr. Oliver and P.W.8 Trooper
Khobotlo at Preparatory Examination was read into the recording
machine as it had been admitted for the defence and accepted by the
crown. It has thus formed part of the record in these proceedings.
led viva voce evidence of P.W.2 Sekerenchana Koto who testified that
on the day in question he had been at
shop of the accused's uncle.
persuaded despite his reluctance to accompany the accused and one
Mokuoane to the home of a girl 'Masenono or Ntsoaki Lehana
grand-daughter of the deceased. The home is at Ha Nyenye.
accused and his companions accordingly set out from 'Mathata for Ha
purpose for the expedition as intimated by the accused to P.W.2 was
in order to abduct P.W.6,
were about to reach the scene accused intimated that he would like
Aupa to go and ask P.W.6 to come and see him. Aupa
was not there. The
task was assigned to George who obliged.
accused and his company approached the corner of the yard enclosing
came out and reported to the deceased that there were some people
time the accused was in the four court of deceased's house.
deceased came out and asked the accused who he was. The same question
was put to the accused's companions but none vouchsafed
Sekerenchane tried to reply but the accused stopped him saying he
didn't want the deceased to recognise him.
deceased expelled these young men from the vicinity of his yard.
accused was identified through the thrust of light streaming from the
door by P.W.6 when the accused was standing opposite
the deceased's yard.
common cause that deceased had a walking stick.
accused having retreated to a place near but outside the gate
intimated to P.W.2 that he was going to stab the deceased with
wrested the unclasped knife from the accused's hand.
afterwards the accused struggled for possession of his knife from
P.W.2 and P.W. 2 surrendered it to him. P.W.2 testified
formed the impression that the accused having clasped the knife,
placed it in his pocket under his blanket.
P.W.2 betook himself from the scene when shortly afterwards the
deceased approached the gate. When P.W.2 looked back he saw
accused extend his hand to the deceased who fell immediately
conceded that in this court he said he did not see the accused extend
the hand towards the deceased but that this is what
he had said in
the court below and swears that what he told that court is the
regarding the stabbing says that the deceased had just turned after
closing the gate and was facing her when she saw the accused
his hand towards the back of the deceased. The accused was behind the
deceased came next to the door where he asked P.W.6 to support him.
helped him to a chair inside the house. She had observed nothing in
her attempt to find out what the matter was with the deceased
she examined him.
testified that the deceased fell when he was inside the house. To
this extent her evidence is in sharp contrast with that of
said the deceased fell immediately after receiving what appeared to
be a blow at the back from the accused.
common cause that the accused had taken beer that day. At least the
crown evidence did not dispute this fact. The accused
what amounts to his advanced stage of drunkenness caused by his
having indulged in drink since early that morning
and topping up the
earlier intake of beer by drinking two more quarts at 'Mantala's at
Ha Nyenye, and buying two more before heading
for the vicinity of the
not in serious dispute in this case though the crown witnesses showed
that the stabbing was effected on the deceased's
back when he was
facing away from the accused. The accused made a demonstration
showing he was face to face with the deceased when
he stabbed him
with George standing between the two and facing the deceased.
accused said the deceased had hit him with a cane stick at the back
and felled him.
if properly pleaded is a defence to a charge of murder. See S. vs.
Ndlovu 1965(4) SA. at 695 C to E.
is not pleaded the court can scarcely treat it as a defence on behalf
of the accused person.
not to say where it features in evidence sufficiently to ground the
fact that though the killing was intentional such drink
affect the accused's perception as to reduce his moral
clear is that at the time the accused inflicted the blow there was no
danger posed by deceased
Consequently I find the accused guilty of murder with extenuating
circumstances on account of the undisputed intake of liquor
heard your counsel's plea in mitigation which painted you a far more
admirable person than you actually are.
granted that you pleaded guilty to murder. Often this is a sign that
you are remorseful.
has been drawn to your deportment in court. I have observed that you
had your arms folded across your chest in the manner
of humble monks.
been pleaded that you should be given lenient sentence. I have been
told that your family have gone out of their way to palliate
suffered by the deceased's family. That they offered a beast, a
coffin and other necessaries for the burial of the deceased.
have also paid 4 head of cattle to raise deceased's head.
are any who deserved the favour of this Court it is your family.
you, while you may wish to enjoy these attributes by proxy, yet a
brief history of how you went out of your way to pester
in turn her family including use of or threat of physical violence
against her and her sister, one would be inclined
to ask whether
attributes ascribed to your family fit you as well.
answer is that they sit ill on you.
It is to
be regretted therefore that all in the name of propitiating the hurt
suffered by the deceased's family culminating in the
loss of their
beloved caused by you should have been put to all that trouble when
they are altogether innocent.
heard of meetings which were held between
family and the deceased concerning your misdeeds.
it is about time this Court showed that your misdemeanour cannot go
without a curb.
family has suffered more than they deserve. It is time you shouldered
consequences of your misdeeds.
lenient sentence I can impose is that of seven years' imprisonment.
: Mr. Sakoane
Defence : Mr. CD. Molapo.
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