Home News Former city soldier accused of murder is ‘accountable’ – State

Former city soldier accused of murder is ‘accountable’ – State

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Mogale has maintained that he carries no recollection of the offence itself

John Momogale

The former member of the SANDF accused of murdering his wife by shooting her with an R4 rifle while on duty, is likely to know his fate later this week as his trial continued in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday.

John Mamogale is charged with murdering his 27-year-old spouse, Shelly, at the Boitumelo Jwa Sechaba Guesthouse, in 2015, amidst allegations of infidelity.

Mogale has maintained that he carries no recollection of the offence itself, while expert opinions differed on the validity of this claim along with the accused’s level of accountability for the act.

This came after the director of L&S Threat Management, South Africa’s first sole-purpose threat assessment and management company, Professor Gerard Labuschagne, previously disagreed with the findings of Northern Cape provincial head of psychiatry, Dr Keith Kirimi, saying that the accused had the non-pathological criminal capacity to be considered guilty of murder

Labuschagne, a former section head of the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) Investigative Psychology Section (IPS) further added that intimate partner murder/suicides (IPMS) were considered the most extreme form of domestic violence, pointing out that South Africans were among the most likely to use firearms when committing such offences.

Regarding the case at hand, the behavioural analyst believed that the accused had taken a decision to engage in lethal violence, having claimed to have been waiting for his shift to begin in order to obtain the R4 rifle used in the shooting.

He also added that on the night in question, Mamogale had left the army base, went to the guesthouse and fetched his mother-in-law before returning a second time to confront his wife.

In February, last year, Judge Johan Olivier ruled that while qualified nurse, Shadrack Boikanyo, had killed his 27-year-old girlfriend, Lerato Olifant, by stabbing her repeatedly with an assegaai after seeing her in the company of another lover, he was not in a state of mind to be held accountable for his actions at the time of the incident.

The court ruled that Boikanyo could not be held criminally liable as a series of traumatic events from his youth, accompanied by the stress caused by suspicions of his girlfriend’s infidelity and her abuse of alcohol, left him teetering on the brink of a breakdown.

An episode was finally triggered when he saw Olifant leaving a house in Sechoareng Street, on the morning of March 8 2015, in the company of another man with whom she was having a clandestine relationship, sending him into a state of automatism.

During the trial the court heard how the qualified nurse had been exposed to several events, early in life, that would later prove to have a detrimental impact on his psychological well-being.

While the state acknowledged that there were a number of similarities between the two murder trials, the prosecutor in the current matter before the Northern Cape High Court, Advocate Theunis Barnard, pointed out that while Boikanyo had little to no recollection of what had lead to the incident in Sechoareng Street, Mamogale had made several rational decisions, at and around the time of his wife’s shooting. Although his suspicions of Shelly’s infidelity were confirmed, it had not come as a total shock.

“One of the major differences between the two cases is that Boikanyo was caught completely off guard (by his partner’s infidelity),” Barnard told the court. “While Olivier’s judgement notes that Boikanyo had driven in the wrong direction and was not entirely sure where he was going, Mamogale, travelled greater distances.”

Barnard added that the fact that Mamogale had contacted his mother-in-law, shortly before the shooting, demonstrated a level of rational thinking and reasoning while witness testimony that the accused had not appeared out of sorts when coming on duty and signing out the R4 rifle at Diskobolos, was a further indication that the former SANDF member should be held accountable for the murder.

“There was a fair amount of expert testimony, which wasn’t really necessary, as the merits of the case speak for themselves,” said Barnard.