Sentencing of man who killed his father postponed to next month

Tebogo Saohatse, who is accused of killing his father Ben Saohatse, makes his way to the cells from the dock in the South Gauteng High Court.
Tebogo Saohatse, who is accused of killing his father Ben Saohatse, makes his way to the cells from the dock in the South Gauteng High Court.

A man convicted of killing his elderly father will have to wait a few more weeks before knowing how long he will spend in prison for the murder.

Tebogo Saohatse was found guilty in November 2019 of murdering his father Ben Saohatse at their Brackendowns home. Tebogo, along with his mother and co-accused, Caroline Saohatse, were both found guilty of defeating the ends of justice in the South Gauteng High Court after Caroline cleaned the crime scene while Tebogo disposed Saohatse’s body. Saohatse’s body has not been found.

Acting judge Prince Manyathi postponed the matter until March 3, when a social worker’s report is expected to be presented before the court. In scathing report in November, Manyathi said the 70-year-old’s body was inconsequential.

"The presence of a body plays no role in the determination of death. Postmortem results do not show subjective intention of the accused and there is no rule that states that a body is required for a court to pass verdict in a murder case, " Manyathi said.

Tebogo admitted that he hit his father with a metal garden rake on the side of the head. Tebogo claimed that he had an argument with his father, who then attacked him with a knife. He also claimed that he tried to take his injured father to hospital after the fight, but that the pensioner jumped off a moving bakkie and was never seen since then.

Manyathi pointed out inconsistencies in the pair's testimonies. He said if the court held the principle of "No body, no evidence", then it would find itself carrying out a great injustice.

"It will mean someone can commit a murder and get away with it if they completely destroy the body, " Manyathi said.

He disputed Tebogo's version of events on the night his father was attacked.

"The court found that you murdered the deceased in the kitchen of his house. He was butchered and killed while the door was closed because there were blood splatters behind the door."

Manyathi said Tebogo gave the court three conflicting versions about what happened when he was driving his injured father to the hospital.

"The first version he said that his father jumped out of the car - which is impossible if you are looking at health complications he had [he was due for a hip replacement surgery] and he was bleeding profusely," Manyathi said.

He pointed out pictures that were handed in as evidence which showed blood spatters in the kitchen where the attack occurred.

"When looking at photos, while he was being hit, he was trying to run away."

It's clear, one can see a stain of blood that shows that they were either crawling or was pushed against the wall. There's blood on the pavement. Its either the person was placed there, or they were crawling there and left the stain.

"There was also blood on the window and it's curious how it got there if he was being loaded into the bakkie," he said.

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