Sweet freedom for man acquitted of murder
FREE AT LAST: Tebalo (left) with his lawyer

Tea and sugar led to death

Every morning for the last three years, 24-year-old Tebalo Stopoti Leikakanye has woken up in Prison with a murder charge hanging heavy over his thin neck.

On Wednesday 19 June, the Serowe native’s nightmare finally came to an end when Francistown High Court ruled he had acted in self-defence and thus had no case to answer.

He was accused of murdering his former co-worker, Batshameki Kearoma, stabbing him twice in the chest at Sello Sa Ngwana Farms in the early hours of 2 June 2016.

According to numerous witnesses who testified in court, Kearoma had a long history of bullying Leikakanye, once beating him so badly he nearly died.

Court heard that in the lead-up to the stabbing, Leikakanye had given his long-time tormentor money to buy him sugar and tea from the tuck-shop where he worked.

However, when a day had passed and Kearoma still hadn’t delivered the goodies, Leikakanye went to enquire on the delay.

It seems a scuffle ensued, with Kearoma kicking his former colleague in the face, causing him to bleed.

According to eye-witnesses, Leikakanye response was to stab his attacker with a knife before fleeing.

Kearoma died soon after, his body only being retrieved by SSG officers the following day.

Urging the court to find the suspect guilty of murder, the Investigating Officer, Detective Sergeant Phetogo Ramaphane accused Leikakanye of taking the law into his own hand.

“He should have reported the matter instead. It was not self-defence, the accused was retaliating – there is a difference between self-defence and provocation,” argued Ramaphane.

However, presiding Judge, Lot Moroka disagreed, ruling Leikakanye had a right to defend himself.

“His fist and kick could not match the other persons. Fists and kicks from a strong person they are as good as weapons. He was justified a knife in the situation he was in. It was not excessive. There is no case to answer, in this situation he had to use whatever he had. Therefore the accused person is acquitted and discharged,” closed Moroka.

Although he is now a free man for the first time in years, Leikakanye declined to speak to The Voice.

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