FRANCISTOWN: Two men who were convicted of manslaughter on their own pleas were Wednesday given suspended sentences in connection with the death of a man who allegedly harassed them for their traditional brew, Khadi. Ikanyeng Brown, 42, and Obolokeng Kebadire, 32, were charged with unintentionally killing Boitumelo Setseeng on April 14, 2014 at Kgwamathe cattlepost near Shoshong.
They were initially charged with murder but the offence was reduced following intense discussions between the prosecution and defence counsels. When passing sentence, Justice Lot Moroka said the conduct of the deceased caused his own death and therefore he (Moroka) cannot overburden the accused with unintentionally killing Setseeng.
Moroka then sentenced Brown and Kebadire each to five years in jail wholly suspended for a period of two years on condition that they do not commit any offence that has an element of violence within that period. “The two accused persons were convicted of manslaughter. The maximum sentence for manslaughter is life imprisonment. However, there is no statutory minimum sentence for manslaughter which means that passing sentences against people convicted of manslaughter is at the discretion of judges. In sentencing the accused I shall take into account the crime committed, interests of society, justice,” said Moroka, who added that the moral blameworthiness of the offender must be balanced against the severity of sentence.
When sentencing accused persons, Moroka noted, their individual circumstances must also be considered. In relation to Brown, Moroka stated that he was a first offender who pleaded guilty to the offence which is a sign of remorse on his part. Moroka added that Brown was of rustic background, never went to school and was a breadwinner for his family. In the same vein, Moroka revealed that Kebadire was also a first offender who readily pleaded guilty to the offence which shows that he was remorseful for his actions. The judge indicated that Kebadire was considerably young (18 years) when he committed the offence, was of rustic background and never went to school which may have influenced him not to understand the consequences of his actions.
“The offence of manslaughter is of reduced moral blameworthiness and was not premeditated. The offence leaves the offender with anguish for having taken a life. This anguish was experienced by the accused as can be demonstrated by their pleas of guilt. While society expects accused persons to be sent to jail for the offences they have committed, in the accused’s case, it will understand the circumstances under which the offence was committed. Looking at how the death occurred also works in favor of the accused. From the facts that were read in court, it is clear that the deceased was the aggressor. He forcefully wanted to drink the alcohol of the accused and he ended up taking out a knife in order to stab the accused. However, Kebadire dispossessed him of the knife and stabbed him once in the chest. The accused died because of his own conduct,” said Moroka. Counsel Bianca Ockhuizen from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) represented the state while attorneys Oarabile Molefe and Obakeng Hule represented Brown and Kebadire respectively.