FRANCISTOWN: A 22-year-old man was yesterday sentenced to 12 years in prison following a conviction of a single count of murder.
Tshepang Motsamai of Tonota was found guilty of stabbing Khumoetsile Sechele on the neck on February 22, 2012 in Tonota, following an alcohol-induced altercation at one of the village bars.
When passing the sentence, Justice Zibani Makhwade said it is trite in law that sentences passed in court should fit the crime committed, adding that it is imperative for the court to balance justice with mercy.
“It is incumbent upon judicial officers to carefully analyse all factors before them before coming with decisions that are not excessive or low,” he said.
Makhwade said he had taken into consideration the personal circumstances of the accused.
“The accused was 19 years old when he committed the offence. At that age he was immature. One of the objectives of sentencing is to rehabilitate offenders. In my view, young people should be given a chance to mend their ways. The accused completed school at Form Three.
He was raised by his maternal grandparents and although his father lives in Tonota, the two never had any close relationship,” he said.
The judge said it should also be noted that the accused was among a group of youth who moved between bars drinking alcohol, before he committed the offence during that fateful night.
Makhwade added that lack of good parenting was a factor in the crime.
“It is clear that the accused lacked discipline and it is hoped that an appropriate sentence will rehabilitate him.
His actions were not premeditated. He is also a first time offender, a factor that works favourably for him. However, it would be remiss not to state that the accused committed a serious offence which is punishable by death,” he said.
Makhwade further said that the Botswana Constitution accords everyone the right to enjoy life, but that right can be curtailed if they murder.
“Death is permanent and cannot be reversed. It leaves the family of the deceased with memories only. Society also expects the courts to pass appropriate sentences that match the crimes committed… A just and fair sentence would make the public trust the courts.
Having considered all factors before me, I sentence the accused to 12 years in jail, which will be backdated to the time he was incarcerated. He is advised of his right to appeal the conviction and sentence at the Court of Appeal within the next six weeks,” he said.
Mishingo Jeremia represented Motsamai, while Counsel Moffat Dick from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) represented the State.