The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Leaba Thetsane (King’s Counsel) yesterday pleaded with the High Court to impose the death penalty on 44-year-old ‘Makhotso Molise who brutally murdered Maseru Senior Women Citizens Association President, ‘Manthakoana Mahase, five years ago.
Advocate Thetsane (KC) was addressing the court after it ruled there were no extenuating circumstances for Molise who, together with her son and 28-year-old ‘Mantoa Mokoaleli, were convicted of brutally murdering Ms Mahase at her residence in Khubetsoana in 2009.
Acting Chief Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi on Tuesday this week ruled he could not find any reasons to lighten Molise’s punishment, adding however, there were extenuating circumstances for her son and Mokoaleli.
Justice Monaphathi then postponed the case to yesterday for both prosecution and defence lawyers to address him on mitigation.
It was during the mitigation proceedings that Advocate Thetsane (KC) called on the judge to impose the death sentence on Molise.
“The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act clearly states that where the court has already found no extenuating circumstances, a death sentence is the applicable punishment for the accused.
“When passing sentence, the court has to consider the nature of the crime committed, the offender and the interest of society. A sentence should be deterrent, and this means a lenient sentence might bring the administration of justice into disrepute. It might encourage others to commit a similar offence.
“The brutal killing was, without doubt, premeditated and the motive was nothing but robbery and greed. The victim was a defenceless woman of about 85 years of age,” Advocate Thetsane (KC) said.
He further argued the three convicts had not demonstrated any remorse during the court proceedings because they gave false evidence in their defence.
“The court, having found no extenuating circumstances for Accused One (Molise), a death penalty would be the appropriate sentence in the circumstances.
“As for the count of robbery, all the accused should get a long-term sentence.
“We also invite this honourable court to impose a life sentence on Accused Three (Mokoaleli).
“She has already escaped the death penalty but cannot escape a life sentence.
“As for Accused Two (Molise’s son), I submit that a long sentence should be imposed on him,” he said.
But defence lawyer, Attorney Thabo Nteso said imposing the death penalty on Molise would be “too severe”.
“The Court of Appeal said a death penalty should be imposed only in extreme cases.
“This murder is not different from other murder cases. Here we don’t know what weapon was used in the commission of the crime.
“The reason why our law still has provision for a death penalty is because our country is still backward,” he said.
However, Justice Monaphathi postponed sentence to 21 August.
“Now I have to deal with the last aspect of these proceedings. It is the most difficult part of the judgment.
“That’s where a judge has to use his discretion in passing sentence.
“I must retire and consider the appropriate sentence and the case is postponed to the 21 August this year for sentencing,” the judge said.