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30 years for ritual murder convicts



MASERU- THREE men who castrated and killed a man for lucky magical charm have been slapped with 30 years each in prison today.

This is the case in which three men of Ha-Tšilonyane in rural Maseru are charged with the murder Motlatsi Khoabane of Ribaneng whose testicles they cut off to use for lucky charm muti.

The three men are Poloko Ramosothonyane, Thapelo Tšekeli, and Katiso Ramoreboli.

Below is part of High Court judge, Justice Tšeliso Mokoko’s sentencing statement:

“The court has now come to the most difficult stage of this trial. Which is the passing of the most appropriate and just sentence that will serve the interest of justice in this matter.

In passing the sentence the court will consider three main factors being the nature of offense, the interest of the accused and the Interest of the society at large.

The court is determined to strike a proper balance between all these factors.

On the basic of these factors, I’ve taken into consideration that all three accused persons are first offenders and they have been incarcerated since 30th May 2017 to date.

This period translates effectively into six years.

It is not the fault of the accused that this matter was not heard on time.

This court holds a view that great injustice has been done that for the whole period of six years, the accused did not know their fate.

Section 12 of the constitution provides that if any person is charged with a criminal offense, then unless the charge has been withdrawn, the case should be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court established by law.

I’ve also taken into account personal circumstances of each of the accused persons.

Accused one is a married man with two children aged nine and seven years.

Accused three is not married. And never went to school.

Accused five is a married man with two children aged 10 and five years. And went as far as standard four.

All of the accused live in a rural place where it was been submitted on their behalf that schooling and civilization is not practiced.

Accused one showed remorse by pleading guilty to the charge. However murder is a serious offense which attracts the death penalty.

The interests of society demand that society should be protected from killers by handing out long sentences on such people.

Society would like the courts to demonstrate that human life matters and cannot be taken unjustly.

Murder is a capital offense which Carries maximum punishment in this country.

In cases such as these where the court finds that the death sentence is not appropriate under the circumstances, imprisonment is the only appropriate punishment.

These accused person committed a brutal murder and they serve a prison sentence which must be coupled with rehabilitative measures so that when they complete serving they are re-integrated with their families.

I want to believe that the deceased death was a painful to his family and friends and his pain was intensified by the fact that the deceased private parts were missing and that he was buried without them.

This goes to show the brutality with which the deceased met his death.

This court must send a strong message to the accused and others who think like them that resort to violence will not be tolerated.

This court has taken notice of the fact that murder is prevalent in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho and this court must demonstrate that those who take the lives of others will be met with harsh punishment.

It was submitted on behalf of the accused that they are uneducated and that factor must be considered when passing a sentence.

I hold a different view because one does not need to be educated to know that violence is wrong.

This court has considered that accused three – is the mastermind of the planning to kill the deceased.

He did not only plan it but he also the mastermind in castrating the deceased and kept the private parts for himself.

I therefore hold a strong view that when taking the facts of this case in totality, the fact that Accused three pleaded guilty did not go as far as giving a lesser sentence to him.

I have also considered the fact that accused three did not take the witness stand, therefore taking this court in his confidence.

Staff Reporter

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