MASERU — A 28-year old man from Makhalaneng in Maseru will spend 15 years behind bars after the High Court found him guilty of murder on Thursday.
None Motlotloane was found guilty of killing Tjamela Machakela in Makhalaneng, a village in the rural parts of Maseru, three years ago.
The court heard that Makhalaneng shot Machakela dead following a heated argument.
Machakela was on a weekend break from the mines in South Africa where he was working.
The court also heard that a few hours before he was murdered Machakela had gone to Motlotloane’s café.
There the two men had quarrelled and Machakela had assaulted Motlotloane, according to the evidence before the court.
Motlotloane then requested the village chief to convene a meeting for reconciliation.
But when Motlotloane found Machakela already at the chief’s place for the meeting all hell broke loose.
Motlotloane fatally shot Machakela.
High Court judge ‘Maseforo Mahase on Thursday ruled that Motlotloane had planned to kill Machekela and therefore slapped him with 15-year imprisonment for murder.
“Having conferred with my assessors I have come to the conclusion that the most appropriate sentence is 15 years imprisonment. And the accused is so sentenced,” Justice Mahase said.
She said Motlotloane had misused the chief’s place as he requested the meeting only to use it as a trap to kill Machakela.
“Whilst I do not want to repeat myself I must emphasise that the accused misused the office of the chief,” the judge said.
“We all know that the chief’s place is regarded highly in this country.
“This is a well factor known by the accused.
“Incidentally the chief is the relative of the deceased (Machakela).
“Actually I was told that the chief was eager to mediate but the accused denied him the opportunity to do so.”
However, Justice Mahase said she had considered the mitigating factors submitted in court by Motlotloane’s lawyer, Advocate Mosoeunyane Masiphole.
Masiphole had asked the court to pass a lenient sentence saying Motlotloane was “a prodigal son who had come to court to seek forgiveness for the crime he had committed”.
“If he was not sorry for what he had done he could have ran away but he has waited for his trial to proceed to the final conclusion,” Masiphole said.
“This really shows that he is like the biblical prodigal son who swallowed his pride and came back to apologise to his father.”
Motlotloane was also slapped with a one-year jail term for the illegal possession of a gun.
The gun he used to kill Machakela was not licenced.
However, this sentence will run concurrently with the 15-year jail term.