On Monday, Francistown High Court Judge, Moses Chinhengo discharged and acquitted a Maun woman charged with the murder of her newly-born child after the state failed to prove its case against her.
The accused, Babona Keshetile, breathed a sigh of relief when the Judge pronounced that the state failed to give sufficient evidence to link her to the murder charge.
The particulars of the offence are that Keshetile, on the 24th of December in 2009 at Matlapana Ward in Maun Village, unlawfully put pressure over the neck of her baby which resulted in complications leading to the death of the infant.
The facts of the offence as provided by the state reveal that the accused had visited her aunt in Maun where she then secretly went into an unfinished house in the compound without their knowledge and secretly gave birth to the baby.
The facts further indicate that after sometime, the relatives heard the baby crying and they interrogated her until she told them the truth that she gave birth to the infant.
The baby was later taken to Maun Hospital where it died after three days. After a post mortem examination was done at Nyangabwe Referral Hospital, it emerged that the baby died because of complications due to pressure inflicted on the neck of the baby.
An investigation was launched by the Police on the accused and she was charged with maliciously killing her baby.
However, during trial, the defense attorney, Jost Isaac, dismissed the allegations by the state saying that there is not enough evidence to say that the accused maliciously caused the death of the infant as the post mortem report states that the baby could have died due to birth complications rather than being maliciously killed by the mother.
“The state failed to establish the essential elements for the offence of murder as they depended on suspicions from the Police Investigations Officer,” he added.
However, the state counsel, Keneilwe Lephalo, from the Directorate Public Prosecution,┬áthen conceded that they do not have much evidence to link the accused to the murder as the accused conceived the baby unassisted and there was no eye witness to augment their case but they only depended on the suspicions of the Investigation Officer.
“There is not enough evidence to say that the accused maliciously terminated the life of the infant. This is a case of which accused should be discharged and acquitted of murder…” the Judge said.