Ex-CAAB employee guilty of murder, acquitted of rape

Justice Bengbame Sechele
Justice Bengbame Sechele

FRANCISTOWN: A former aircraft marshal at the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) received a guilty verdict on Friday for the murder of Metlha Sibanda, the nine-year-old daughter of his ex-girlfriend in 2018 at Marobela.

The accused, Motlatsi Khoto, 48, was however acquitted of rape after Justice Bengbame Sechele said that there was no conclusive evidence that Khoto raped the deceased.

Sechele stated that although the forensic scientist who examined the nine-year-old girl’s body concluded that a DNA profile obtained from the anorectal swabs relating to Khoto could not be excluded as a possible contributor to the mixed DNA profile found on the deceased.

Therefore, the finding was ambiguous because it means the DNA found on Sibanda could belong to another person and not necessarily Khoto.

According to Sechele, there is no doubt that Khoto murdered Sibanda to get back at her mother, Unami Sibanda.

The court heard that Khoto’s legal problems arose after Unami dumped Khoto following an acrimonious relationship.

The accused’s attorney, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae had submitted that when Khoto murdered Sibanda he was not in full control of his mental faculties because he was depressed and used to hallucinate as can be attested by the psychiatrist who examined him.

Ngakaagae further submitted the accused involuntarily murdered Sibanda in the middle of a nightmare in which a person was fighting him and as a result, he fought back only to discover that he had throttled Sibanda in his sleep after he woke up from the nightmare.

The attorney had submitted that the proper charge that Khoto should have been charged with was manslaughter and not murder.

Convicting Khoto of murder, Sechele said that Khoto gave a detailed account of what transpired during that fateful day which gives credence that his mind was not impaired.

“The accused has no known psychiatric history because there was no medical report produced in court to back up that claim despite the fact that he had a car accident in 2015. Evidence before court shows that he was only examined by the psychiatrist after allegations of murder and rape were levelled against him,” Sechele said.

“The pathologist report shows that the deceased died from mechanical asphyxiation as a result of neck compression. The toilet paper and plastic that were retrieved from deep down the deceased’s throat show that considerable effort was applied to push them down the throat in order to prevent the deceased from screaming,” Sechele noted.

Sechele added: “While it is a fact that the accused drank alcohol on that day, there is nothing to show that his mind was impaired...Also, the accused worked at CAAB and he did not produce any evidence that showed that he had precognitive problems during his workdays... In light of the aforesaid, he is found guilty of murder and acquitted of rape.”

Ditshotlo Mpale represented the State.

Editor's Comment
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