A witness in the long-drawn-out murder trial of the four senior police officers accused of the murder of their subordinate, Police Constable (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng claims the slain cop had strangling signs on the neck.
Feb. 16, 2023
3 min read
Witness claims Khetheng had strangling signs
The slain Police Constable Mokalekale Khetheng
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Detective Lance Sergeant Bokang Jane who was called to the stand again this week by Senior Counsel Shaun Abrahams for the Crown said he and a colleague briefly investigated the murder case of Khetheng.
The trial resumed this week after it was last heard by Justice Charles Hungwe in November 2022.
It is expected to continue next week.
The case was postponed because the defence lawyers were engaged in another matter before Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane.
In the case, Senior Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu is charged together with his three subordinates - Senior Inspector Mabitle Matona, Sub-Inspector Haleokoe Taasoane, and Inspector Mothibeli Mofolo for the May 2016 murder of Khetheng.
In his evidence-in-chief, Jane had shown that on March 27, 2016, Khetheng’s body was found in Ha Setho.
He told the court that the body was first discovered by an unidentified man.
Jane said at the time of the murder, he was based at the Mokhalinyane police station, on the outskirts of Maseru.
He said at the scene of crime, they found among others, a short dirty rope, which he initially disregarded, thinking it had come from the river.
After a thorough examination, it emerged that Khetheng’s body had some scratch marks on the neck.
Jane said it looked like the dead man had been strangled with a rope and had acquired scratch marks on the neck as he tried to free himself.
He agreed, however, that he did not take pictures of the scratched neck.
Under cross-examination by King’s Counsel (KC) Karabo Mohau for the defence, Jane further agreed that the lack of pictures to substantiate his claims did injustice to his testimony.
But Mohau warned the witness that he was bringing up the issue of scratches on Khetheng’s neck for the first time in his testimony this week.
The lawyer suggested to the witness that owing to how long ago, the incident had occurred, it was possible that he had forgotten some of the details of what really transpired.
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He said some of the witness’ current evidence largely contradicted the testimony he gave previously.
The four accused police officers were denied bail by the High Court on August 2016 and have been languishing in jail ever since.
All of them deny any wrongdoing.
Khetheng was last seen alive at the time of his arrest by his colleagues at a traditional feast in his home village of Sebothoane, Leribe on March 25, 2016.
He was accused of burning to the ground the house belonging to his commanding officer in Mokhotlong where he was deployed.
It is alleged that Tšukulu ordered the Leribe police and his three co-accused to arrest Khetheng.
Matona, Taasoane, and Mofolo served under Tšukulu during the material time.
After their arrest on August 4, 2016, the four were hauled before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court, where they were remanded in custody.