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‘It was cold blooded murder!’

GUILTY VERDICT: Phadi Solomon
GUILTY VERDICT: Phadi Solomon

Court dismiss herdboy’s self-defence claims

A herdboy’s justification that he acted in self-defence when he killed another man has failed to convince Francistown High Court, who found him guilty of murder on Tuesday.

Baithoki Jackson was 35 years old when he stabbed Emmanuel Benedicto to death at a shebeen near Mapatse (an unrecognized settlement in Shashe West) on the night of 29 September 2012.

It was heard that after a day of drinking khadi, Benedicto was sitting around the fire with others when Jackson turned up. Unprovoked, the killer grabbed his unarmed victim and pulled him away from the crowd. He was then seen removing a knife from his pouch and stabbing the other man five times. It was further stated there was no known quarrel between the two men.

In his defence, Jackson, who is now 45, maintained Benedicto started the fight, claiming he was followed by the other man when he left his yard. The convicted killer further insisted it was in fact Benedicto who was armed with the knife and that he must have inadvertently stabbed himself during their scuffle.

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His words failed to convince Justice Phadi Solomon.

“The accused was seen by the witnesses attacking an unarmed man. That the accused life was in danger was an afterthought, his life was never in danger. I therefore find the accused person guilty of murder.”

In mitigation, the accused’s attorney, Morris Ndawana pleaded with court to take into account his client’s relatively youthful age at the time of the incident.

“All indications are that he had lived a clean life up till then,” noted Ndawana, adding his client complied with every bail condition set throughout the course of the trial.

“The offence was committed as far back as 2012 and there has been a delay [in the trial] and we submit it has affected the accused’s social life and employment opportunities,” added the attorney, who pleaded for a sentence that allows Jackson the chance to rebuild his life in the future.

With an outbreak of Covid-19 affecting over half the inmates at Gerald Centre where Jackson is incarcerated, the accused is currently in isolation and was not present to hear the guilty verdict in person.

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He will not be in attendance on Thursday (29 July) either, when court will hand out his sentence. A lengthy prison term is expected.

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