MASERU — Katiba Khitšane of Mohale’s Hoek was on Tuesday slapped with a 15-year jail term by the High Court for fatally stabbing a fellow villager three years ago.
Khitšane, 51, who was initially being charged with the murder of Teboho Motlomelo on September 2 2007, was convicted of the lesser charge of culpable homicide when he appeared before Justice Maseforo Mahase on March 8.
In her summary judgment, Justice Mahase said the accused was lucky to escape a longer jail term due to a number of mitigating factors.
“He is a first offender, a sole breadwinner and the court was encouraged by the state to give him a restorative sentence,” she said.
“A lengthy jail term won’t be of much good in this case.”
Justice Mahase, however, said she also had to consider the interests of the affected family.
“The accused had deliberately taken beer and it was an excuse to commit a crime,” she said.
“The crown has considered all the facts for a lenient sentence.
“But the accused is still alive, while his victim is gone forever.”
Justice Mahase told the court intoxication could not be used as an excuse when people commit crime.
“People forget that life is a God-given gift. In this case, the appropriate sentence is that of 15 years,” she said.
When convicting Khitšane last week, the judge said the defendant’s testimony had not been convincing.
“The accused said he was insulted. He said Motlomelo struck him on the back twice, in full view of people who were drinking at the shebeen,” Justice Mahase said.
“The defendant also talked of a conspiracy against him because of an alleged adulterous relationship between Motlomelo and one of the witnesses.
“But the court fails to understand the accused’s actions, which were unreasonable and unjustified.”
Hlalefang Motinyane was the crown counsel in the trial while Pitso Pitso represented Khitšane.
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