FRANCISTOWN: A herder was on Tuesday sentenced to 16 years in jail for the murder of his co-worker following the fraying of their living and working relationship.
Justice Matlhogonolo Phuthego sentenced Kabo Basimane for murdering Tlhokomelo Galefose during an unknown date in November 2015 at Tamotaka cattlepost in the Central District.
When passing the sentence, Phuthego said that Galefose confirmed all the essential elements of the offence adding that he was satisfied that Galefose’s plea was unequivocal.
“The accused told the court that he and the deceased worked as herdboys for the same person. The accused said that he had worked for five months with the deceased before he murdered him. He stated that he worked very well with the deceased for the first two months but their working and living relationship deteriorated afterwards until the deceased met his death,” Phuthego said.
Galefose, Phuthego added, stated that the deceased was fond of insulting him and his parents whenever they were drunk.
“The accused said that at one point while they were drinking alcohol, the deceased gave him his urine to drink. He also said that the deceased poisoned his food, which caused him to vomit and he fell ill with diarrhoea. The accused stated that his condition improved after he drank milk. The accused said that he only went up to form three with his education. He stated that on November 6, 2015, he bought alcohol and dagga that he consumed with the deceased,” Phuthego noted.
The deceased, Phuthego said, told the accused to kraal the cattle, but the accused told the deceased that he could not do so since it was not his turn.
“The accused said that an argument thereafter erupted after he told the deceased that it was not his turn to kraal the cattle. During the argument, the accused said that the deceased insulted him and he also insulted him back. The accused said that the deceased took a log and hit him with it. He also said that the deceased also slapped him. The accused said he then took a nearby table knife and stabbed the deceased
Phuthego added: “The accused said that after he stabbed the deceased, they went their separate ways to sleep in their respective rooms. The accused said that in the morning he went to check on the deceased in his room but he found him lying down at the back of the kraal instead of his bedroom... The accused said that he tried to move the corpse to his bedroom but he instead got scared and dumped the corpse into an ant bear hole. The statements of the accused were uncontroverted.”
When weighing in on extenuating factors, Phuthego said that it was common cause that the deceased was aggressive towards the accused who reacted by stabbing him with a knife.
“It is common cause that the murder was not premeditated. The accused murdered the deceased because the deceased was in the habit of tormenting him. Although the accused said that he was drinking alcohol prior to murdering the deceased, he never mentioned that he was drunk. Taking into consideration what the accused said in his mitigation, I am of the view that there are extenuating factors that warrant that I pass a different sentence other than death,” Phuthego said.
In his mitigation, Phuthego noted, the accused said that he has a child.
Phuthego went on: “Some extenuating factors like the fact that the murder was not premeditated can also be taken as 'mitigatory factors'... However, the accused has two previous convictions of common nuisance that he committed less than three years before he committed the current offence. He appears to me as someone who never learnt from his past mistakes.”
The judge reasoned: “... The accused is sentenced to 16 years in jail. The period he spent in jail in connection with this offence shall be deducted from this sentence. He is advised to appeal both his conviction and sentence at the Court of Appeal within six weeks from now.”