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Witness in murder case somersaults on promise

08 Jun 2024

Key witness in the 2017 murder of Thulaganyo Motlhobogwa at Unit 7, in Jwaneng could not keep the promise she made of withholding crucial information from the police to cover up for the accused.

The witness, Ms Lapologang Kelatlhege somersaulted when they arrived at Jwaneng Police Station from the hospital, where they had taken Motlhobogwa for medical attention.

Although she had sworn to Tumelo Gadilaolwe that she would tell the police and the hospital staff that the deceased was a passerby who had asked for their assistance, Ms Kelatlhege changed her statement when privately interviewed by the police. She told the police that it was Gadilaolwe who stabbed the deceased with a knife.

The Investigating Officer, Detective Sergeant Onthatile Molefe of Botswana Police Service’s Crime Investigation Division (CID), divulged this when giving evidence before Justice Mokwadi Gabanagae of Gaborone High Court on Thursday.

She said when the accused heard that Ms Kelatlhege told the police exactly who killed Motlhobogwa, he broke down and wept bitterly. “When I told the accused about the call, he broke down and cried,” said Detective Sergeant Molefe, who had left the police station to the crime scene in the company of the accused.

She said while at the crime scene, the police officer who interviewed Ms Kelatlhege called to say that the witness had changed the earlier statement and was now telling the truth. Detective Sergeant Molefe said upon hearing that Ms Kelatlhege had told the truth, the accused also told a story that corroborated what Ms Kelatlhege said.

She told court that the accused said the deceased charged at him with a broken bottle, hence he grabbed a knife from the kitchen and stabbed him on the chest.

When cross-examined by the defence counsel, Mr Wellington Mhembere, Detective Sergeant Molefe said what the accused said amounted to a confession statement hence, he was taken to a judicial officer for confession. However, she said there was no evidence before court to verify that the accused was arraigned before a magistrate before the confession statement was recorded.

She further said when the incident took place, there was another man who refused to give a statement and she refuted the defence claims that there were two men present at the crime scene. Also, she said during their visit to the crime scene, they found the broken beer bottles, managed to photograph the crime scene and retrieve the murder knife as evidence.

Giving his evidence in chief, Gadilaolwe told court that he killed the deceased in self-defence, adding that it was the deceased who attacked and charged at him with a broken bottle.

He further said the deceased had earlier harassed everyone before the stabbing incident, adding that they had been drinking alcohol. He also said the police had told him that if he confessed to the crime, he would be released, which however did not happen as he was then taken to prison.

Gadilaolwe is accused of killing Motlhobogwa at Unit 7 in Jwaneng on April 30, 2017. He is represented by Mr Mhembere of Wellington Attorneys while the state is represented by Ms Omphemetse Ntwayagae of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions. The case continues in September for oral submissions. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Bonang Masolotate

Location : GABORONE

Event : court session

Date : 08 Jun 2024