MASERU — A Maputsoe man will spend the next 36 years behind bars after he was convicted of brutally killing a man and his son after a dispute over a property.
The High Court on Thursday sentenced Lefu Tau to 18 years in jail for killing Moshoeshoe Moshoeshoe and another 18 years for killing Moshoeshoe’s three-months-old son in 2005.
Tau and Moshoeshoe clashed over some property that the latter was renting.
Tau alleged that Moshoeshoe had occupied the property unlawfully because he had rented it from someone who was not the rightful owner, the court heard.
The court however established that the premises belonged to a woman who was staying in South Africa.
High Court judge Justice Nthomeng Majara rejected Tau’s plea that he acted in self-defence and slapped him with a 36-year jail term.
Tau was also slapped with a six-month jail term or a fine of M500 after he was found guilty of unlawful possession of a gun.
“I also order that the sentences in the first two counts are to run consecutively, whereas the sentence in the third count will run concurrently with the first two,” Justice Majara ruled.
“Since the issue of the shooting is common cause, the question that the court has to determine is whether the accused successfully established that when he shot the deceased and the baby in the process, he was acting in self-defence and was at that time unaware of the presence of the baby.
“As I have already stated his actions on that day were a clear manifestation of his aggression although he would want us to believe that it is the deceased who was the aggressor.
“It is for all the foregoing reasons that I find that the crown has successfully proved its case with respect to all three counts beyond any reasonable doubt,” she said.
Justice Majara said there were reasons why she could not impose the maximum sentence on Tau.
“I have also found that an extenuating factor does exist in this case, the accused’s belief that the premises that the deceased was renting are his and that this gave him the right to go and repair and or change the locks to the door if resisted,” she said.
She also said the sentence was imposed after considering that Moshoeshoe’s family suffered a loss of two family members.
“I also took into account the fact that the death of the deceased and his baby who were killed in cold blood in broad daylight caused terrible pain to their loved ones especially his wife and the mother of the baby and has left a permanent void in their lives,” Justice Majara said.