FRANCISTOWN: The attorney of a former Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) employee who has been found guilty of murdering his stepdaughter had submitted that his client was mentally diseased when he committed the offence.
In April this year, Motlatsi Khoto, 48, was convicted of murdering nine-year-old Metlha Sibanda in 2018 in Marobela. Previously, Justice Bengbame Sechele stated that although the forensic scientist who examined Metlha’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, there was a possibility that it may be Khoto’s DNA.
Therefore, the judge said that the finding was ambiguous because it means the DNA found on Metlha could belong to another person and not necessarily Khoto. In addition, Khoto’s attorney Kgosietsile Ngakaagae has in the past during trial submitted that Khoto involuntarily murdered Metlha in the middle of a nightmare. In the nightmare, Khoto had relayed he was in a fight with another person and as a result throttled Metlha in his sleep. He said he only realised the fact after waking from the nightmare. When making submissions on extenuation on Wednesday, attorney Ngakaagae said that their address on extenuation will only cover a single point.
“Surely, the deceased was about eight years old and the issue of provocation in the matter on part of the deceased does not exist because the deceased was a child. The question then is how did a man of the convict’s age cause the deceased’s death? We have endeavoured in the main trial to shine a light that the accused committed the offence because of his mental illness. In the main trial, we have also strived to show that the convict had severe mental depression before his trial. We had not argued this point in a vacuum. We relied squarely on the documentary mental evidence of a government and private psychiatric specialist,” said Ngakaagae.
Ngakaagae also told the court that Khoto’s former colleague at CAAB had told the court that Khoto was having mental problems hence he was transferred from Kasane to Francistown for him to work near his parents. “The defence said that the convict committed the offence because he wanted to 'fix' his ex-girlfriend or his girlfriend whatever the state of their relationship was at the time he committed the offence. The accused is not a good candidate to be given the ultimate sentence of death but he deserves a long prison term. The accused committed the offence because his mental faculties were diminished at the time he committed the offence. The accused has not denied committing the offence and the defence has not refuted this evidence,” Ngakaagae said.
The ruling in the matter will be delivered on February 24, 2023. The judge then further remanded Khoto in jail. Counsel Ditshotlo Mpale from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions represents the state in the matter.