Moatlhodi’s son found guilty of a lesser charge

Francistown Magistrate's Court PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
Francistown Magistrate's Court PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG

FRANCISTOWN: Tears of joy flowed at the Francistown Magistrate’s Courts on Tuesday after the son of the former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Pono Moatlhodi, was found guilty of driving without due care and attention.

The accused, Boitshoko Moatlhodi, 34, was initially charged with killing five-year-old Kevin Utlwang on April 21, 2012 at Block 7 along Kazungula road. Moatlhodi, a civil engineer by profession, was additionally charged with failure to stop after the accident. Boitshoko’s parents, relatives and friends who attended the court session shed tears of joy after he was fined P600 for the offence which is payable by the end of December which in default, he shall serve six months in prison.

Passing sentence on Tuesday, Principal Magistrate Sijabuliso Siziba said that he found  Moatlhodi guilty of having committed the offence of driving without due care and attention, which attracts a fine of between P500 and P2,000. “It shall be taken into account that he is a first offender. The policy of sentencing is to be lenient when sentencing first offenders as opposed to repeat offenders. I agree with the defence counsel that the duration of the time when the accused was first arraigned in court until now is a long time which has emotionally tortured him, a factor that I would also consider when passing an appropriate sentence,” said Siziba.

Siziba said that he also took into consideration that the accused is gainfully employed and may lose his job if he is given a custodial sentence. He added that the purpose of sentence is not to revenge against accused persons but to rehabilitate them. Earlier when passing judgement, Siziba said that the accused was alleged to have been driving in a zigzag manner thereby causing death. “He was also alleged to have failed to stop after the accident. He said that his Mitsubishi car lights were on during that day because it was around sunset in the evening. He also stated that he heard a knock at the point of impact but did not realise that until he stopped a few metres from the Botswana Meat Commission circle because it was not convenient to stop immediately after he heard a knock because the road had no shoulders,” said Siziba.

The onus, Siziba said, rests with the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offences as charged. He said that it was not in dispute that an accident occurred along the Kazungula road and the deceased died of haemorrhage and shock as can be confirmed by the death certificate.

“It is also common cause that the accused did not stop after the accident. One prosecution witness said that he found the accused reaching for something at the back of his car, which the accused has vehemently denied. The sketch plan showed that the accused did not move out of the road as one of the prosecution witnesses has alleged. The allegations of dangerous driving are unsupportable. The prosecution did not convince me that he drove in a dangerous manner,” said Siziba.

The next question, Siziba said, is whether the accused can be found guilty of a lesser charge of driving without due care and attention. “The accused has duty to be on the lookout for kids and other pedestrians along the road.

He was not observant… I find that the prosecution has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused failed to stop after the accident and therefore he is acquitted and discharged of the charge of failure to stop after the accident but is found guilty of driving without due care and attention,” said Siziba. John Mosojane represented the accused while Rodger Bosena from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) represented the state.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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