Lobatse High Court judge Maruping Dibotelo is on the 28 of January, 2008 expected to pass a ruling on whether there are any extenuating circumstances in a case in which Botswana citizen, Brandon Sampson, and South African Michael Molefe have been convicted of murdering Zimbabwean citizens, Robert Ncube and Sam Hombarume, on December 24, 2000 in Mogoditshane.
If he rules that there were no extenuating circumstances, the two are likely to face long jail terms or, worse, the noose.
Passing a ruling on their conviction, Dibotelo said that he was satisfied that the state had proved its case against the two. The evidence brought by the state, he said, was overwhelming and proved beyond doubt that the two are responsible for the killing of the two victims.
Dibotelo said it had been proved that the motive for the killing was revenge for Molefe’s aunt whom the accused alleged was killed by the two Zimbabwean nationals in South Africa.
On submissions made by Duma Boko, who is representing Sampson, that the ballistics expert who examined the gun alleged to have been used in the murder was not able to say beyond doubt that the weapon was the one used in the murder, Dibotelo said that despite what the expert had said the evidence linking the two men to the murder was blood stains of the deceased which were found on the clothes of one of the accused persons, Molefe’s clothes.
In the final submissions, Ookeditse Maphakwane, for Molefe, had argued that his client had no intention of killing the deceased but to scare him and that he had said that in Court. He also said that his client had told the court that they were drunk and had smoked dagga.
Boko had also argued that his client, whom it is alleged had killed one of the deceased with a knife, had done so in an effort to defend himself and that self defence is allowed.
At an earlier stage in the trial, the accused persons were four but others were later acquitted and discharged.
The two were Brown Makoba and Reetsang Masimolole. Sampson and Molefe had at one stage also claimed that they were tortured in order to make statements incriminating them. That had led to a trial within a trial which, in the end, found that there was no evidence that the accused were tortured as they had claimed.
An interesting aspect of this case was the star witness, known as Sekhumba, and who, in his evidence, told the court that he was the one who had reported the killings to Military Intelligence because he had known about it.
The star witness did not last until the end of the trial as he disappeared during cross examination and the Court finally took out his evidence from the trial record.
The two accused persons have been in jail since their arrest in 2000.