The late John Kalafatis was shot at by Botswana Defence Force (BDF) officials in a fit of suspicion that he (Kalafatis) was about to draw a gun to possibly resist arrest, the Lobatse High Court has heard.
“I heard someone saying he is taking out a gun,” said BDF official, Dzikamani Mothobi, as he narrated his testimony on the night Kalafatis was shot.
In his testimony to the court on what transpired the night Kalafatis was shot, Mothobi said that at the time the deceased was shot he was not armed and was some distance away from the scene of the crime.
Mothobi, Boitshoko Maifala, Ronnie Matako and Gotshosamang Sechele, all BDF officials, have been charged with the murder of Kalafatis.
Mothobi told the court that he, along with his team, pursued Kalafatis following a report of an armed robbery committed at Phakalane.
He said that his men parked behind the vehicle Kalafatis was in and while he remained in the vehicle they were using, his men rushed to the two-door Corsa vehicle that Kalafatis was in and ordered the driver and another passenger to lie down. He said that before long, shooting erupted.
Mothobi said that although he did not order the shooting, he was quick to order his officers to stop shooting as he was the most senior within the group.
He told the court that at the time that Kalafatis was reported to be taking out a gun, the three officers had surrounded the vehicle and had removed two of the passengers from the vehicle while Kalafatis was still inside the vehicle.
Under cross-examination by the DPP, Mothobi said that he did not quickly rush to arrest Kalafatis when he was informed by his source that Kalafatis was at Thapong, because he (Mothibi) needed backup because Kalafatis was dangerous.
He told the court that Kalafatis was considered dangerous because he had once threatened Police officers on patrol with a gun in an incident that occurred at Tlokweng.
He said that he did not arrest Kalafatis at Thapong Visual Arts Centre because he did not know who he was with.
Mubika, however, dismissed this claim.
“I put it to you that you did not arrest Kalafatis because you intended to kill him,” stated Mubika.
“Did you discuss amongst yourselves how you were going to effect the arrest?” asked Mubika
“Yes, the deceased was a very difficult person and we agreed we should not give him a chance to maneuver but we should catch him quickly,” said Mothobi.
“Why did they shoot at the deceased?” questioned Mubika.
“They shot after one of them said he was taking out a gun,” replied Mothobi.
However the accused had a hard time as he attempted to explain why he omitted to state in his written statement to the police that Kalafatis was shot after one of the accused shouted that he was taking out his gun.
He said that he forgot to record it because the events on the night Kalafatis was shot happened quickly.
“Why didn’t you go back to the police…and give a more detailed statement,” asked Mubika
“Never thought about it,” said Mothobi.
Mothobi was also strongly criticized by the prosecution for omitting to mention in his written statement that he used a loud speaker to announce their presence to Kalafatis and his friends.
Mothobi said Kalafatis was given time to get out of the vehicle but he did not; however, the prosecution contends that by the time orders were made for the men to step out of the vehicle Kalafatis was already dead.
Mothobi said that after the shooting he did not know whether Kalafatis was still alive but nevertheless sent officers to report to BDF and Police about the incident.