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Thabo Masilo judgement in June

Keletso Thobega

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Judge Abednigo Tafa yesterday set the ruling in Thabo Masilo’s murder case to June 20, 2019. There was disappointment from the packed courtroom of the Gaborone High Court when Tafa called for a break and said the case, would resume in June for the final sentencing.

Attendants had anticipated the sentencing. Masilo cut a forlorn figure in the witness stand, looking much older and scrawnier than before. He appeared nervous and for the first time evidently looked scared, as the State argued that he had gone to Motlhabane’s house in Phase 4 with intent to commit a crime. The State also argued that Masilo had premeditated the murder and that he was of a sound mind and knew exactly what he was doing.

Meanwhile, when making final submissions, defense lawyer Kgosi Ngakayagae asked that extenuating circumstances be made and argued that Masilo had not committed the crime with intent and maintained that he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time he committed the crime.

Masilo previously told court that he was intoxicated when he committed the crime because he had joined a few friends he went to school with and gone on a drinking spree, drinking seven quart bottles of beer and smoking three joints of marijuana. In court this week, Ngakayagae argued that absence of proof of premeditation and aggravation was key.

“We are not underplaying what the accused did but court should go with an appropriate sentence with the gravity of the matter,” he said. After deliberations, Judge Tafa asked for a break and said that the sentencing would be handed down in June. The case has been dragging for seven years now.

Masilo was found guilty of murdering Tshepo Motlhabane in December last year. The ruling comes following a six-year trial over the murder of the former St Joseph’s College student who was stabbed to death at her family home in Phase 4, Gaborone.

After reading out the statements of 13 witnesses including security officers, police officers, a relative and forensic experts, Tafa noted that it was questionable that Masilo had acted in self-defense as he had claimed in his defence. “If he had indeed acted in self defense as he claims, he would not have stabbed the victim three times.

He also would not have hidden from the security personnel,” he said in part. He however found him not guilty of robbery. Masilo is currently serving time for a different crime of rape and robbery.

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Sun ePaper Wednesday 20 May 2020

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Sun ePaper Wednesday 13 May 2020

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