Lesotho Times

Soldier was on verge of insanity, court told

MASERU – A soldier who fatally shot his two colleagues and wounded two others was on the verge of insanity, a psychologist called as a witness told the court last week.
Daniel Louw from the University of Free State said Moeketsi Scout, 38, who is an officer in the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) could have been suffering from a post-traumatic disorder when he committed the crime.
Scout is alleged to have fatally shot Sergeant Nkoho and Private Motlerepe.
He is also alleged to have wounded two others Teboho Sekonyela and Pte Phaila. The incident happened in August 2003 at Ha Peete in Quthing.
“Accused suffered from post-traumatic disorder which was caused by the insults that he was receiving from his colleagues in the army,” Louw told the court during cross-examination from the crown.
He said the insults were repeated in the bar the night he allegedly committed the crime.
He said insults could have had a cumulative impact on the accused.
A report by a psychiatrist who assessed Scout said he had suffered post-traumatic disorder.
The state alleges that on the night in question, the accused and other members of the LDF were drinking at a local tavern.
It shows that Nkoho started taunting Scout.
It is alleged that the insults were targeted at the fact that Scout was a university drop- out.
Mkoho is alleged to have called him a “half-baked graduate” (le-universitinyana) and other belittling names.
The accused then left saying that he was supposed to go on duty at 10pm. He however returned to the tavern and fatally shot Nkoho and Motlerepe. He also injured Teboho Sekonyela and Pte Phaila.
He then shot himself on the chin but did not die.
Asked by the court what the accused’s state of the mind was at the time when he committed these deeds, Professor Louw said:  “I have no doubt that his mental capacity was diminished but not to the extent not to know what he was doing.”
Professor Louw said the accused knew what he was doing, but was not thinking normally as he would under normal circumstances.
“As a person you can realise what you are doing but have no control and willpower to stop it.”
When the court asked Louw whether he would say somebody who lost control over himself was insane, he replied: “It is possible that a person who can lose control in such a way could be regarded as insane.”
He said in this case the accused was on the verge of insanity.

Lesotho Times

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