At long last, there might be justice for the family of the late Mothusi Sephiri who was shot dead by the police in Maun early last year. But this will only be determined by what an inquest, which was instituted by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DDP), will finalise.
An inquest will call for criminal prosecution if it is established that there was an element of negligence. The inquest started its hearings in Maun last month. It has since postponed the hearings to next month. Maun Magistrate Clifford Foroma is the coroner for the inquest.
One of the people who has testified at the inquest is a police officer, Gaositwe Nyame who was part of the patrol team. Nyame was the leader of the patrol team.Sephiri was shot at Sanyedi ward in Maun earlier last year, in what appeared to have been a case of mistaken identity following an attempted street robbery. Even the police have admitted that Sephiri was not the suspect they were looking for.
A Maun man, Peloyame Oteng had earlier reported that he was attacked by two people and he believed that they wanted to rob him.
An armed police patrol team was set out to look for the suspects. The patrol came across Sephiri just near his home. Mistaking him for one of the suspects, one of the police officers shot the unarmed Sephiri on the spot. The police ordered his father to go and identify him at the hospital. The police later gave the Sephiri family P5,000 for the funeral costs. But the family was warned that this did not mean that the police was taking full responsibility for
Sephiri was shot the night before he was supposed to leave for his work place in Francistown.
He had gone to Maun to join his family for the Christmas holidays. His family said he was never involved in crime.
The person who reported the robbery, later told police that Sephiri was not one of the people who wanted to rob him.
Sephiri's case has been dragging on for quite a while until year end of 2009 when the DPP called for an inquest. The police have been keeping the Sephiri family in the dark about developments in the matter.
Sephiri was just one of the 16 people who have been shot dead by security agents in extra judicial killings since 2008. In December, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Ndelu Seretse told Parliament that 16 people had been shot by wsecurity forces since 2008 in 1l incidences. Seretse said out of the 11 incidences, four murder cases and seven inquest dockets were opened for investigation.
He said four murder cases have been submitted to DPP for assessment of evidence while six inquest dockets have been referred to the DPP for assessment of evidence.
Parliament has been told that two dockets have since been closed because there was no evidence of negligence. Seretse revealed that one inquest is still under investigations.