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Insufficient Evidence Leads To Murder Accused Acquittal

LEBOGANG MOSIKARE
FRANCISTOWN: Both happiness and pain permeated the court on Thursday after two men, who were accused of murder, were acquitted of the offence due to insufficient evidence.

The two, Goitsemodimo Goitsemang, 33, and Allen Tom, 31, were charged with the murder of Otsilegape Ditsemela at Tumasera village in the Central District on August 28, 2011 at a drinking spot.

Ditsemela succumbed to two knife stab wounds on his thighs.  Delivering the ruling on the matter, Justice Zibani Makhwade stated that the duo pleaded not guilty to the charge and opted to remain silent after their options were read to them. Makhwade said that there was contradiction in the statement that the first prosecution witness, Kebadiretse Motlaleng gave in his evidence-in-chief and what he said in court.

Motlaleng, Makhwade said, heard a bang when he was outside the bar and then saw the accused running away, but in court he said he never saw the accused.

Makhwade also added that the State’s case was not helped by the fact that the fourth prosecution witness, Seikokotelo Ntwampe, a bar attendant, also contradicted herself in court and

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when giving her evidence-in-chief.

The judge explained that in one of her statements, Ntwampe said she never saw the accused stabbing the deceased, but in another statement she said she saw them stabbing the deceased.

For a case of murder to sustain, Makhwade explained, the onus lies with the State to prove its case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt, which unfortunately was not the case in the present matter.

“None of the State witnesses who testified in court said that they saw the accused stabbing the deceased.

“The State witnesses cannot be relied on,” Makhwade said before dismissing the case.

The deceased’s sister who was following the court proceedings, wept uncontrollably outside court after the acquittal of the duo who were happy with the outcome.

Attorneys Tumisang Mokobi and Kesegofetse Molosiwa - who is one of the attorneys who freed four men accused of murder last week - represented the accused while Gape Merafe represented the State.



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