Gwisani Lufu, 26, of Sebina Village in the Central District, escaped the grip of the strong arm of the law and left the court with a sigh of relief on Tuesday last week.
Francistown High Court Judge, Mpaphi Phumaphi, granted Lufu a 9-year sentence for a single count of murder, pointing out that by pleading guilty to the charge and saving the court time, along with satisfactory extenuating factors, the court found it unreasonable to impose a capital sentence on the accused.
Lufu was charged with the murder of his grandfather, Letlotla Manyeme, on the 30th of March last year at Sebinanyana lands near Sebina Village in the Central District.
According to the prosecution, Lufu left his home in Sebina on a trip to Marapong to inspect the house he was building. But before taking off, he went on a drinking spree with a friend, a Zimbabwean national who was employed by his parents as a herdsman.
After their beige, he helped his friend drive the cattle back to his parents’ fields where they were supposed to pasture.
Lufu then decided to return to his grandparents’ place where he, together with the herdsman, resided with the family. His grandfather then accused him of stealing his property and ordered him off the premises.
Lufu refused to leave and, instead, went to the back of the yard where he cut a branch from a mophane tree which he then used to continuously hit his grandfather on the head.
The old man, fighting for his life, screamed until his wife came and found him lying helplessly in a pool of blood.
Police were summoned and transported Lufu’s grand uncle who, by then, could neither walk nor speak, to Marapong Clinic and later to Tutume Primary Hospital where he was certified dead.
The prosecution brought before court that, by hitting the old man with a stick and causing him the injuries that caused his death, Lufu acted with unlawful and (premeditated) malice.
The prosecution produced the stick, postmortem results and a photo album as evidence.
Justice Phumaphi pointed out that it was evident that, at the time of the offence, Lufu had been provoked and felt humiliated, adding that Lufu had been under the influence of liquor and had shown remorse in front of court by pleading guilty to the offence he had committed and did not waste the court’s time.
He also brought to the court’s attention that Lufu was a first offender and had no past criminal records.
The judge, however, indicated that Lufu was guilty and punishable by law.