Maseru, Mar. 06 — The High Court through Judge Charles Hungwe has on Monday prohibited taking and publication of photos as well as videos of Thakali Ntsasa, a seventh witness testifying in a murder trial against some members of the army who are accused of killing Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao.
This was after the prosecution through its lead lawyer Advocate Shaun Abrahams requested that such an order be made for safety of the witnesses. He stated that there are several witnesses lined up to testify in the matter, some of which are in fear of their lives.
He added that such witnesses have requested that no photos or video footage of them be taken and published in any form of media. He however pointed out that there is no problem with voice recording. He indicated that whenever such witnesses are to testify, the court will be informed.
The lead prosecution lawyer remarked that they are aware that the matter is of public interest, but they are concerned about the safety of the witnesses.
There was no objection from the defence as such an order had been made before with another witness.
After taking the stand, Ntsasa was assured by the prosecution that although there were cameras in front of him and in the courtroom, no photos or videos of him were being taken by the media as the court had issued an order prohibiting that. He was told that only his voice is being recorded.
The witness who is a resident of Ha Lebakae in Mokema told the court that he knew the deceased in the matter. He said they grew up in the same village adding that the deceased introduced him to farming and taught him some life lessons.
He testified that on the day the deceased died he saw him at the village travelling in a white half-truck. He however said he did not see him leave the village. He further testified that earlier that day he heard a sound of a vehicle driving at high-speed adding that he saw a white twin-cab driving past the deceased’s farm at high-speed with two people at the back.
He stated that a few minutes later when the vehicle returned, the two occupants who were at the back were no longer there. He said there was only a driver and a passenger. He indicated that in the afternoon after he had taken animals home, he saw two people carrying bags and leaving the village. He said it was not normal for people carrying bags to be travelling through the village on foot while there were taxis in that village to carry passengers.
At least nine members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) including Former Army Commander Tlali Kamoli stand accused of the murder and several other offences in the matter.
It is alleged that the deceased in the matter was shot and killed on June 25, 2015 at Ha Lekete in Mokema.