MASERU — Four men from Majaheng Mapoteng in Berea were on Monday found guilty of brutally killing Sekoche Mphaka over suspected stock theft.
High Court judge Lisebo Chaka-Makhooane found the four — Moeketsi Molise, Moeketsi Lesooana, Mari Lesooana and Tankiso Cheli — guilty of killing Mphaka on February 1 2000.
The court heard that the four assaulted the deceased and shot him twice for allegedly stealing two sheep and two donkeys which belonged to Molise and Lesooana.
Mphaka died of wounds sustained during the assault.
Delivering judgment on Monday, Justice Chaka-Makhooane said the convicted had testified in court that they assaulted Mphaka for resisting arrest and fighting them.
“It appears that the accused managed to get to the accused more than once.
“It was the witness’ evidence that they managed to subdue him and beat him with sticks . . . nowhere has it been shown (the) deceased was a threat to the accused,” she said.
Justice Chaka-Makhooane said the deceased should have been arrested and taken to the police after being subdued.
“He should have been arrested after being subdued. The accused indiscriminately shot him twice.
“How are these (acts) justifiable? In my view, there was no reason why he was not arrested after being subdued but they shot him twice,” she said.
“There was no gun seen by the witnesses carried by the deceased. As such, there was no immediate danger posed by the deceased.
“I’m therefore inclined to reject the accused’s defence. It was brutal and indiscriminate,” she said.
Justice Chaka-Makhooane said the use of the gun by the four was not necessary considering that Mphaka was already down.
“He was killed for no apparent reason except to conclude that the accused wanted to get him one way or another.
“If indeed the deceased had insulted them, he did not deserve to die. Accused acts were excessive and they ought to have arrested him and taken him to the police or headman,” she said.
“They had resolved to finish him once and for all. After all, he was an old stock thief who terrorised them . . . They were reckless, unfortunately they did not beat him only but shot him twice,” she said.
Justice Chaka-Makhooane said she had concluded that the accused had acted with criminal recklessness in assaulting Mphaka to death.
“In these circumstances the accused . . . are found guilty in dolus eventualis. Accused bail is cancelled. They will be put in custody pending their sentence,” she said.
Advocate Selebalo Lekokoto represented the four accused while the crown was represented by Kananelo Khoboko.
The High Court is set to pass sentence on the four today.