Suspected KaPola murderer acquitted
MBABANE – Suspected KaPola guest house murderer, Gabriel Loti Palati has been acquitted and discharged of the murder of Lihle Dlamini.
Palati was acquitted by High Court Judge Mbutfo Mamba on the allegation contained in the indictment.
It was alleged that on January 2, 2011, he intentionally killed Dlamini while at KaPola guest house. Komma Reddy, a pathologist opined that Dlamini died from several stab wounds.
Palati pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Six witnesses were paraded by the Crown to prove its case.
Stanley Dlamini represented the Crown while Mbuso Simelane represented the accused.
The crucial issue before court was to ascertain who inflicted the injuries and under what circumstances.
The Crown contended that the injuries were unlawfully and intentionally inflicted by the accu- sed.
This was, however, denied by the defence which stated that the injuries were self-inflicted by the deceased who told the accused that she was killing herself.
The motive behind the suicide was allegedly because she felt rejected and mistrusted by the accused who was her lover and that no one cared about her.
None of the witnesses called witnessed the actual stabbing or the circumstances under which Dlamini sustained the injuries which resulted in her death.
It was alleged that Dlamini hit her head against a table when a scuffle ensued between her and Palati. At this stage, it was alleged, Dlamini picked up a knife which had fallen from Palati.
She allegedly accused Palati of seeing someone else and that her father did not care about her as she did not complete her schooling.
She allegedly said the best thing for her was to die.
Palati allegedly came from behind and held her. She had the knife in her hands, and as he turned her to face him, he realised that she had stabbed herself in the neck and the knife was stuck in there.
He called the police and informed them about the accident.
When he realised that the police were not responding to his call, he allegedly took charcoal which was on the ground and he wrote, on the wall, before attempting to kill himself, that ‘love kills Lihle’ followed by his name. He allegedly told the police a false story when they arrived at the scene of crime.
"The accused was the only person who witnessed how the deceased sustained those injuries that eventually caused her death. He has admitted that he assaulted the deceased and caused her to fall, but that this was in the course of him being attacked and chased by her within the guest house," Judge Mamba held.
The judge continued: "In any event, I need not believe him to acquit him.
"The onus rests on the Crown to establish his guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.
"All the accused has to show is that his version may, in the circumstances, be reasonably possibly true."
It was further held that the court does not look at the evidence implicating the accused in isolation to determine whether there is proof beyond reasonable doubt and it does not look at exculpatory evidence in isolation in order to determine whether it is reasonably possible that it might be true.
"In the present case, the accused’s version of events on that fateful occasion leading to the death of the deceased though suspicious in some respects, may reasonably possibly be true," Judge Mamba held.
Palati was accordingly found not guilty, acquitted and discharged.
kusebente umutsi kelapha lokwemashangane akudlali
December 8, 2011, 1:00 am, sabelo (firstname.lastname@example.org)