MASERU — Two men who were suspected of killing a herder in a row over stolen sheep in Quthing eight years ago were acquitted by the High Court yesterday.
Sebata Makitle and Retšelisitsoe Ramokoena were facing trial in the High Court for allegedly killing Makhaola Posholi at Ha-‘Makepile in Quthing.
The prosecution had said the duo killed Posholi after they accused him of stealing a sheep which belonged to his employer in October 2003.
But the duo shifted the blame to their co-accused, Sekonyela Telisa, who has since died.
High Court judge Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase acquitted the duo on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to prove its case against the accused.
“I come to the conclusion that the crown has failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
“They are accordingly found not guilty and are discharged,” Justice Mahase ruled.
Justice Mahase ruled in favour of the duo after she said the prosecution had failed to challenge the evidence presented by the two against a murder charge levelled against them.
She said the two explained in court that they kept intervening to stop the fight when Sekonyela was assaulting Posholi.
The prosecution’s contention that the duo acted in common purpose with Sekonyela to kill Posholi cannot be accepted, she added.
“The crown seems to have forgotten to challenge evidence that it was only Sekonyela who was assaulting the deceased.
“But it was submitted on behalf of the crown that they acted in common purpose to kill the deceased.
“The crown said it relied on circumstantial evidence,” Justice Mahase said.
She said failure to challenge the evidence that the two kept on intervening resulted in failure by the crown to support its argument.
“In the light of this unchallenged evidence it cannot be argued that the accused acted in common purpose to kill the deceased.
“It can also not be said that the accused had an intention to kill the deceased.”
Justice Mahase also criticised the prosecution for not calling Posholi’s employer to testify in court.
She said the evidence of Posholi’s employer could have shed more light on whether the duo participated in the assault or not because the assaults started in the presence of Posholi’s employer.
Posholi, who was employed as a herder by ‘Malebese Ramokoena, is said to have admitted to stealing the sheep after he was hit by Sekonyela at his employer’s place.
The deceased was buried by the office of the Quthing district administrator because the employer and the Quthing police did not know his relatives.