Court finds hallucinating man guilty of murder

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FRANCISTOWN: According to experts, one of the damaging effects of alcohol on the brain is impaired memory.

This effect played out at the High Court this week after a man intentionally killed another man on the false belief that the deceased had murdered his son following an all-night alcohol drinking spree.

Lo and behold, the accused’s son is alive even today. He had left for home to sleep in the morning leaving his father and other people still imbibing alcohol at a drinking spot.

In addition, the accused’s son arrived safely at home and never had any altercation with the deceased at any point while they were still entertaining themselves with alcohol at the same drinking hole.

The case in point involves Ntole Kesegofetse who was found guilty of murdering Tshokodiso Ramathase at Doroga 2 cattle post in the Central District on December 26, 2016.

According to the pathologist’s report, Ramathase died after Kesegofetse chopped him with a pickaxe on the neck several times.

In a judgment that shocked and sent shivers down the spines of many in court, it was revealed that Kefalotse killed Ramathase on the false believe that Ramathase had killed his son, Onkemetse.

Detailing how the incident happened, Justice Tshegofatso Mogomotsi said that on December 25, 2016, the accused and deceased were drinking a traditional brew called Jabulani at an alcohol drinking spot.

According to the judgement, the accused and deceased started their alcohol drinking spree on Christmas Day of 2016 till the next day.

On his way home on December 26, Kefalotse saw the deceased in deep sleep under a tree.

“The accused approached the deceased and asked him about the whereabouts of his son, Onkemetse. He then told the people he was with that the deceased is the one who killed his son. He told his wife and son-in-law that he was going to get a pickaxe from his place of residence and then avenge the death of his son.

He went to his place of residence to get the pickaxe and thereafter executed his promise. His wife and son-in-law tried to restrain him from killing the deceased but they failed because he also threatened to chop them with the pickaxe,” said Mogomotsi adding that Kefalotse thereafter escaped but was later arrested.

When the police asked him why he killed the deceased, the judge said, the accused said that he killed him with a knife because he tried to rape his wife.

The accused’s wife and his son-in-law, the judge noted, however vehemently denied this version.

“The accused’s wife and son-in-law told the police that the accused used a pickaxe to kill the deceased.”

At the end of the prosecution’s case after Kesegofetse’s legal options were explained to him, he elected to remain silent and did not call any witness, said the judge.

“…It is not in dispute that Ramathase is late. The key witnesses in this matter are the accused’s close relatives. The court found no reason for them to falsely implicate the accused. The accused’s wife and son-in-law were staying with him in the same yard and they did not fabricate any evidence against him.

I find that the accused’s wife and son-in-law were credible witnesses. They refuted the allegation that the deceased tried to rape the accused’s wife.

The deceased never provoked the accused while he was sleeping under the tree. He was deep asleep and he never engaged in any act that may be deemed to have endangered the live of the accused,” said Mogomotsi.

Discrediting the accused’s state of drunkenness, Justice Mogomotsi said that it cannot be said that the accused was drunk to the level that he did not know what he was doing.

“The accused was privy to what he was doing. He had an intention to commit what he did. He told the people he was with that he was going home to get a pickaxe and then kill the deceased. The accused did not act on impulse. He fully appreciated his actions… and later fulfilled his objective of killing the deceased,” said Mogomotsi.

She added: “ In the circumstances, I find that the killing was premeditated. The accused is therefore found guilty of murder.” The accused is due in court on November 13 for hearing on extenuating factors and mitigation.

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