HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
matter of :
R E X
J U D G M
E N T
by the Hon. Mr. Justice M.L. Lahohla on the 10th day of June, 1991
accused is charged with the crime of Murder, it being alleged that on
or about 15th April 1989 and at or near Phahameng in the
Butha-Buthe he did unlawfully and intentionally kill Teboho Mokopu.
The accused pleaded not guilty to this charge.
of the accused the preparatory depositions of all witnesses who
appeared and deposed before the court below were admitted,
because the recording machine was out of commission the public
prosecutor Mr. Qhomane was asked for the benefit of my assessors
make short summations of the depositions of the witnesses who
appeared before the court below. That he duly did.
close of the Crown case the accused gave his own evidence.
the evidence of the Crown witnesses is that
a feast at the home of the accused and that sometime during the night
the accused's wife's aunt came complaining to the
accused and his
companion one Charlie who were seated in a hut that someone had
smacked her with a clap across the face.
accused went to investigate. Meantime there was a hue and cry when an
unknown wan was hotly pursued by people who were outside.
didn't see this but at a later stage the accused was conducted by his
uncle Charlie to a place where a man had fallen
and had been beaten
by people who had been seen giving chase after him. The accused was
asked by Charlie who provided the accused
with a knife for the
purpose, to stab the man who had fallen. The accused duly complied
and inflicted two stab wounds on the chest
of the deceased whereupon
the deceased died.
accused was seen going to a tap and wash his hands.
already stated that the accused admitted every bit of statements
contained in the depositions before the court below.
own defence when giving evidence the accused states that he is 42
years of age and that on the day in question he had been
his combi trying to remove its engine. He was in the company of two
other people including Charlie. He sent them to
go and buy him six
cans of beer and the type of gin called Old Buck, - a half bottle of
this drink. This was bought and the accused
and his friends joined
him in drinking this.
accused repeated this order; and something that surprised him was
that the quantity of drinks each time which were brought was
than the ones that he had ordered. So, he believed that his friends
were also buying extra quantities of alcohol and that
the accused was
not restricted to drinking his own order of alcohol. He said
aside twenty Maloti as the amount that he was going to use in
entertaining himself. He believes that he took alcohol far
of the amount that M20-00 could fetch. He says he was so drunk that
he didn't know how he left the combi where he had
been drinking. He
only discovered at a much later stage that he was lying under a table
surrounded by his wife and several of people
who were at this feast.
endeavour to show that he was not being truthful the accused was
referred to a confession that he made and in which there
significant absence of his statement to the Magistrate who took down
his confession of the fact that he knew nothing of what
Further use was made of the averments he had made in his application
for bail concerning this offence in which again
there was absence of
any indication on his part that he knew nothing of what he had done.
accused seeks to rely on provisions of the Criminal Liability of
Intoxicated Persons. His counsel sought to pursuade the Court
the accused's case falls to be treated under the provisions of the
relevant section The section shows that intoxication is
not a defence
to a charge of Murder, but that it could serve as such, if it is
shown that the accused was intoxicated not voluntarily
the malicious act of another.
case it is clear that the accused was not forced to drink albeit he
had exceeded what quantity he intended drinking. He
exceeded this no
doubt because of his own willingness to please his friends or his
drinking mates who had joined him. So I cannot
see in such a
situation any degree of involuntariness on his part. I do therefore
come to the conclusion that the accused is guilty
of Murder as
will be no need for counsel to address me on
because I'm convinced of the fact that liquor played a great part in
the offence that was committed by the accused.
The Court having been
addressed on mitigatic imposed a sentence of five (5) years'
J U D G E
: Mr. Qhomane
Defence: Mr. Fosa
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