There is no rule that states that a body is required for a court to pass verdict in a murder case.
These were the words of acting judge Prince Manyathi who convicted Tebogo Saohatse, 33, for killing his father Ben Saohatse more than two years ago.
Although the 70-year-old’s body was never found, Manyathi in a scathing judgment yesterday, said this 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 was found guilty in the South Gauteng High Court for murdering his father at their Brackendowns home, south of Johannesburg in February 2017 and for defeating the ends of justice.
He 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.
His mother, Caroline Saohatse, was also accused of murder, but was only found guilty of defeating the ends of justice after she was found cleaning her husband’s blood stains at their home on the night of the murder.
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.