MASERU — A 21-year-old Mafeteng man, John Ts’ehlo, is facing a charge of murder for allegedly killing his grandmother whom he accused of practising witchcraft.
Ts’ehlo is alleged to have killed ‘Mankuebe Ts’ehlo in November 2004 after he accused her of bewitching him.
The prosecution said the accused used to tell his parents that his grandmother used to call him from the veld at night.
The prosecution said this angered Ts’ehlo who later stabbed his grandmother with a knife.
He was 15 when he committed the crime, the court heard.
Ts’ehlo has denied killing his grandmother but the prosecution says he was found with his grandmother’s automated teller machine (ATM) card which was found in his possession.
The prosecution also says Ts’ehlo had confessed to the police about the crime.
Ts’ehlo’s cousin, Bokang Ts’ehlo, on Tuesday told the High Court that the suspect handed over ‘Mankuebe’s ATM card holder to him on November 10 2004 claiming that he had picked it up somewhere.
The holder contained ‘Mankuebe’s bank statement.
Bokang said he was not aware that his grandmother had died at that time.
He said he had learnt of his grandmother’s death when he handed over the ATM card holder to him.
The case was adjourned to next Tuesday.
The prosecution said it wanted the Mafeteng police officers to testify that Ts’ehlo had in fact confessed to having killed his grandmother.
The court will next week seek to establish if the confession was made voluntarily to the police.
Ts’ehlo’s lawyer, Advocate Zwelakhe Mda, told the High Court that the confession that his client had made to the police was not done voluntarily and should not be admissible in court.
“Any explanation which is said to have been given by the accused to the police is inadmissible as evidence in this court because he did not make [the confession]voluntarily,” Mda said.
The prosecution said the confession was first made before Magistrate Ntai Mojaji.
High Court Judge Semapo Peete on Tuesday directed that there should be a trial-within-a-trial to establish whether Ts’ehlo’s confession to the police had been made voluntarily or not.
“The purpose of this trial-within-a-trial is to establish voluntariness.
“This includes how the accused went to the police and what transpired thereafter.
“The magistrate before whom the confession was made should also be present in court to testify to that confession,” Justice Peete said.
The case continues next Tuesday.