FRANCISTOWN: A 31-year-old woman was on Thursday sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of one count of infanticide.
However, Kefilwe Hiri, a teacher at Sefhophe Junior Secondary School would not spend time in jail.
This came after Justice Lot Moroka suspended the sentence for three years on condition that Hiri does not commit a similar offence.
According to the charge sheet, Hiri intentionally took the life of her infant after giving birth in 2010.
The summary of facts at the time Hiri committed the Offence state that her balance of mind was disturbed because she had not fully recovered from the effects of giving birth.
“Her boyfriend told her that he had another girlfriend who he was about to marry. This revelation caused the accused to fall into a deep depression. She later delivered the baby in the toilet of the house she shared with another teacher. The teacher heard a baby crying and alerted school authorities who later reported the matter to the police,” state the facts.
After the facts were read to Hiri, Moroka said he was satisfied that her plea was unequivocal and convicted her as charged.
Giving extenuating circumstances that may have led Hiri to commit the offence, her attorney Othusitse Mbeha said that she was traumatised when she committed the offence.
“The accused was charged with this offence in 2010 which is more than nine years back. The delay in prosecuting the accused had nothing to do with her but the prosecution. The court should consider that when sentencing the accused,” Mbeha pleaded.In mitigation, Mbeha stated that Hiri was a first offender who should be given the benefit
“She was 22-years-old when she committed the offence. Her youthfulness had a bearing in the committal of the offence. She subsequently had another child who she is taking care of. This on its own shows that she is a responsible parent who is remorseful of her past actions. She has mended her ways and deserves to be given another chance in life,” Mbeha said.
Mbeha added that the nine years that the accused has been living with the offence hanging over her head is punishment enough and a deterrent to the accused not to commit a similar offence.
When passing judgement, Moroka said taking into account the extenuating and mitigating factors, he was of the considered view that the delay in prosecuting the matter lied squarely at the doorsteps of the prosecution.
“The delay in prosecuting the matter is a sentence on its own. The accused was also under a lot of trauma when she committed the offence since her boyfriend had told her that he no longer wanted her when she was heavily pregnant. The accused is also a first offender who needs to be given another chance,” Moroka said.
Moroka added that the accused has since given birth to another child whom she did not kill which action shows that she is remorseful for what she did in the past.
“The accused is therefore sentenced to five years in jail wholly suspended for three years on condition that she does not commit a similar offence,” Moroka said.