Maseru, Apr. 12 — Former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Tlali Kamoli has on Wednesday, through his lawyer Advocate Letuka Molati, before the Court of Appeal, insisted that Justice Charles Hungwe of the High Court should recuse himself from a case in which he and others are accused of involvement in the 2014 bombings.
Kamoli approached the Court of Appeal seeking it to reverse a judgment of the High Court in which Justice Hungwe dismissed his (Kamoli’s) application for recusal in the bombings trial.
Adv. Molati argued that there is a likelihood that the judge will be biased in presiding over the case. He stated that the judge has at some instances confused the appellant with another accused. He added that the manner in which the judge handled an issue of legal representation for the appellant might lead to biasness.
He further argued that the judge’s mind will not be free of bias if he has knowledge of prior facts. He pointed out that the judge has already formed certain impressions about witnesses who have testified in another matter and are yet to testify in the current matter. He emphasised that the criss-cross of witnesses who testify before the same judge is a problem.
Legal representative for the respondents in the appeal Advocate Motene Rafoneke argued that confusing the accused with another cannot be reason enough for recusal.
He stated that the appellant has failed to present evidence to support his perception that the judge might be tempted to form an impression about witnesses who testified in a certain case.
He emphasised that there is nothing wrong about the same judge presiding over multiple cases involving the same accused.
The appeal was heard by Judges Petrus Damaseb, Van de Westeheizen and Philip Musonda. Judgment is expected to be delivered on May 12 2023.