Lobatse High Court judge, Maruping Dibotelo, is on February 22 expected to pass judgment in a case in which a South African citizen, Michael Molefe, and a Botswana citizen, Brandon Sampson, are facing charges of having murdered Sam Hombarume and Robert Ncube, both Zimbabwean citizens, on December 24, 2000.
Dibotelo had earlier, when ruling on whether there are any extenuating circumstances, said that the two accused could not be said to have been influenced by their youthfulness when carrying out the crime because when they committed the offences they were aged 39 and 32 and, in his view, the immaturity factor did not apply to either one of them.
He also dismissed the defence that the two were under the influence of alcohol when they committed the crime saying that, although he accepted that Molefe had taken some alcohol on the day in question, the two were not so drunk as not to know what they were doing.
Dibotelo also said that if the accused persons were as drunk as they wanted the Court to believe, Molefe would have given this on an earlier occasion during a trial within trial.
A trial within a trial was ordered during the trial when the accused persons had claimed that they had made the statements to the police under duress as they were tortured by the police during their investigations.
It was finally ruled that there was no evidence of that having happened.
The Lobatse High Court judge also said that the actions of the accused persons, both before and after the murders, did not show that they were drunk, adding that the accused persons had gone to Ncube’s home armed and wearing balaclavas in order to conceal their identities from the deceased. He ruled that the two had told lies to the deceased saying they had come to exchange Pulas for Rands in order for the deceased persons to open the door.
The judge said there was nothing to support their defence that they had been drunk.
Their extent of sobriety, he said, was also shown by the fact that after the murder they had wrapped up the murder weapon, opened up a television and hid the weapon inside the television set. This, he said, also did not support their claim that they were drunk.
All these acts, Dibotelo said, were not those of a drunken person but a sober one.
He also said that he rejected the defence that they had also smoked a lot of dagga on that occasion and added that a person who plans to commit a crime then drinks first before committing crime should not be allowed to rely on intoxication as an extenuating factor.
The judge acknowledged the fact that Molefe might have suffered emotional instability due to stress and strain although the alleged murder of his aunt, which, it is claimed, was carried out by the deceased persons had occurred in 1995.
This he said was the only extenuating circumstance on the side of Molefe.
The judge also said that there was evidence that the murder was planned because the two had gone to Ncube’s place carrying a revolver.
Molefe was represented by Ookeditse Maphakwane, and Sampson by Duma Boko.
Susan Mangori of the Directorate of Public Prosecution prosecuted.