LOBATSE: Sordid details of how members of the Military Police executed John Kalafatis were revealed on Friday when the last accused person, Corporal Boitshoko Maifala, testified before Lobatse High Court Judge David Newman.
Speaking under cross examination, Maifala told court that he fired 10 bullets at Kalafatis from the back of the car.
He admitted that he ordered Lance Corporal Gotshosamang Sechele and Lance Corporal Ronny Matako to shoot when he saw Kalafatis' hand move towards his back. Maifala told the court that the shooting - which was continuous - lasted two minutes and that he fired from about 1.7 meters from Kalafatis' car.
However, Maifala was at pains to explain why his co-accused did not tell the court that he had ordered the shooting after seeing Kalafatis' move his hand other than that Matako had shouted, "He is drawing his gun."
Pointedly, prosecutor Mpho Letsoalo asked Maifala if he is the one who shot and killed Kalafatis. "It is the evidence of Maifala and Sechele that they shot and missed their mark," Letsoalo said. "Further, evidence by the pathologist is that eight bullets were removed from Kalafatis' body. Are they from the 10 that you fired from your gun?"
Letsoalo: The pathologist's report shows that there were wounds at the back of Kalafatis' head, neck, and three at the back of the chest. I would be correct to say that you caused those injuries?
Maifala: You would not be correct. I do not know where the injuries came from because we were all shooting at the same time.
Letsoalo: Which position were you when shooting?
Maifala: I was at the back corner of the car.
Letsoalo: Did you have someone shooting with your gun that day?
Letsoalo: So the three of you shot and killed Kalafatis?
Maifala: Yes, we shot at him but I cannot confirm that he died because of bullets from our guns.
Letsoalo: The pathologist's report says the cause of death was multiple gunshots. And you were the only three who were shooting at the deceased. What do you say to that?
Maifala: I said we all shot at Kalafatis. Yes, the shooting could have caused the death of Kalafatis, but our intention was not to kill but to arrest Kalafatis.
Letsoalo: After you stopped shooting, did you
Maifala: Yes, I peeped through the door.
Letsoalo: Did you notice anything?
Maifala: He looked fine.
Letsoalo: There are three bullet holes on the left and two on the right side of the rear windscreen. Who could have shot those?
Maifala: I could have covered that area.
Letsoalo: I put it to you that all the bullets that hit the rear windscreen were meant for Kalafatis, and indeed they hit him. What do you say to that?
Maifala: Yes, that's true.
Wherupon Justice Newman also wanted Maifala to clarify certain issues pertaining to his testimony.
Newman: Are you trained in the use of firearms?
Maifala: Yes, I have been in the military for 17 years.
Newman:As an ordinary person given 10 bullets, I'd probably hit the target 10 times.
Maifala: I dispute that.
Newman: Who shot through the rear right window, left window?
Maifala: Sechele was on the right and Matako on the left.
Newman: How do you explain that Matako said he only shot twice when there are seven holes through the window?
Maifala: I cannot explain that because Matako has already explained.
Newman: How many holes in the rear window and what happened to the other bullets that discharged from your gun?
Maifala: There are five holes in the back windscreen. I do not know what happened to the other five.
Newman: Prosecution says the four bullets that were found between Kalafatis' legs were planted there. Would the four be some of your bullets?
Newman: Explain something: The pathologist says there were 17 used bullets that were removed from the car and examined. And counting bullet holes from the car, there are 14. Any explanation regarding the three unaccounted ones?
Newman: The state contends that the unaccounted three bullets were fired through the window. What do you say to that?
Maifala: It is not true.
The case continues today when a Botswana Defence Force armourer is scheduled to give evidence. On Friday, Newman issued an order to subpoena the armourer to explain some procedure that is followed when a soldier is issued with a firearm and its subsequent return.