Former Lobatse High Court judge Gabriel Rwelengera has convicted notorious Old Naledi criminal, Poelo Thanana “Terrible Tee” Kebonang, for the murder of Panki Banks Tshegisi on 14 April 2007.
Tshegisi was stabbed twice on the thigh with a knife and died as a result of excessive bleeding.
In a judgment read on Rwelengera’s behalf by Lobatse High Court judge David Newman, Rwelengera said that he was of the view that the main issue to consider on the matter was whether the accused person had stabbed the deceased in self defense as he claimed.
On this issue, he said that it was clear from the deceased’s wife that it was Kebonang who had attacked Tshegisi, stabbing him on the thigh with a knife until he bled to death on the fateful day.
Kebonang claimed that Tshegisi owed him money for a cellphone that he alleged Tshegisi bought from him.
The deceased’s wife, on the other hand, said that her husband had bought the cellphone brand new and had been using it for the past two years.
Rwelengera said that elaboration on this important aspect of the case came out clearly during cross examination by state counsel Keletso Kgathi, indicating that the issue of self defense raised by Kebonang is not only improbable but, beyond doubt, a false story.
The judge said that Kebonang’s story that the deceased had bought the cellphone from him and that he, Kebonang, had only wanted to claim the outstanding amount was beyond doubt false just as the issue of self defence.
On whether the two stab wounds on the thigh of the deceased do establish malice and afterthought, Rwelengera said it was significant to note that the accused aimed the knife at the accused’s thigh and that raised doubt of whether the accused intended to kill the deceased.
Such an intention, he said, had not been proven beyond doubt.
Rwelengera said that the injuries amounted to grievous harm, adding that Kebonang inflicted not one but two deep wounds with evident deliberation.
In doing so, the judge said the accused ought to have realized or that he did realise that the wounds would occasion a serious danger to Tshegisi’s life but was indifferent as to whether or not death would result from the two stab wounds.
In the judgment, Rwelengera said that further proof of his intention to cause grievous harm was the fact that after the assault, the Kebonang had thrown the knife into a pit latrine, “obviously to conceal his connection with the incident”.
If Kebonang had been a victim of the onslaught, Rwelengera said one expects he would have reported the alleged assault on him to the police but he did not do so until weeks later after his name was announced on the radio as a wanted suspect for murder.
Sentencing has been set for the 28 February, 2011.
Apart from the murder charges he is facing, Kebonang also faces two counts of robbery.
He is alleged by the state to have, on the fateful day on which he murdered Tshegisi, to have robbed Kaga Joe Masala and Aaron Moagi of their cell phones.
The two, apparently out of fear, did not resist as they “know that he is dangerous and prone to stab anyone who resists his word”, said an Old Naledi resident.
His stubbornness was on display as he shouted insults at photo journalists who dared to take pictures of him as prison wardens escorted him to waiting prison vans.
He showed no remorse at all.