A RESIDENT of Ha-Jane in Berea was given a wholly-suspended sentence this week by the High Court for killing his neighbour seven years ago.
Tlhoriso Rammatli (50) assaulted and later fatally shot Daniel Mabote in their village on 16 October 2008.
The businessman however, pleaded guilty to culpable homicide and on Tuesday Justice ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane sentenced him to one year in prison.
But Justice Hlajoane suspended the whole sentence on condition Rammatli did not commit a similar offence over the next 12 months.
The judge also cautioned and pardoned him for the illegal possession of a 9mm pistol he shot Mabote with.
It emerged in court Justice Hlajoane’s sentence was influenced by Rammatli’s compensation of Mabote’s family, although the restitution was not disclosed during the trial.
However, the payment was made under a Basotho tradition known as ‘raising the head of the deceased person’.
Rammatli is also said to have borne Mabote’s funeral expenses.
Crown counsel Advocate ‘Mamongonyo Baasi told the court: “If he had pleaded not guilty, the Crown would have called one ‘Manapo Rammatli, who worked in a shop belonging to the accused.
“She would have told the court that she was in the company of three people when the now-deceased arrived at the shop on 15 October 2008.
“The now-deceased used to insult customers and would sometimes take money from them by force. But on the day he died, the owner of the shop, who is the accused before the court, was present and chased him away.
“The following day, the now-deceased arrived at the shop holding a stick and looking very angry.
“This young girl got into the shop and locked herself up, and called the owner.”
Advocate Baasi further told the court Rammatli was later seen fighting with Mabote by one of the villagers.
“The witness also saw the accused chasing the now-deceased with his gun in his hand,” she said.
Advocate Baasi further said had the accused pleaded not guilty, the now-deceased’s uncle, Lekhotla Mabote, would have also told the court he was called to identify his nephew who was in a stream near the village.
“Upon arrival, he found the deceased lying down in the stream, but he was still alive.
“He would testify that the deceased died after about 30 minutes when he was already at the scene,” she said.