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Maseru
May 23, 2024
LAW & CRIME

DPP APPOINTS NEW LAWYER 

Maseru, Aug.09—The High Court was on Wednesday in a case in which two members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) are charged with the murder of Lisebo Tang, which occurred in 2014 near the residence of Former Army Commander Tlali Kamoli at Ha-Leqele, told that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has appointed a new lawyer to prosecute the case. 

Advocate Motene Rafoneke told the court that he is the new prosecution lawyer for the case as a mandate of Advocate Lepeli Molapo who was given a brief as a prosecutor has been terminated.  

A judge presiding over the matter Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane asked why the DPP appointed Adv. Rafoneke when she knew that there was an inquiry in terms of Speedy Courts Trials Act after Advocate Molapo was double booked and failed to appear in the criminal trial per schedule. He further asked whether the DPP is indirectly admitting that Adv. Molapo is wrong when she is disabling the court from making the inquiry about the lawyer she appointed. 

He pointed out that the purpose of the inquiry, according to law, is to sanction a lawyer who deliberately causes delays in a criminal case. 

On Monday Adv. Molapo was in the morning not before court and in his place was Adv. Limakatso Mokhatholana who informed the court that Adv. Molapo was engaged at the Commercial Court. The court directed that the matter be adjourned so that Adv. Molapo could be called. 

When finally before the court following the adjournment, the lawyer explained that the matter he was engaged in at the Commercial Court started at 8:30 in the morning with hope that by 9:30 they would be finished. He indicated that he was aware that the criminal trial was set down for Monday.  

The presiding judge directed the lawyer to read the Speedy Courts Trials Act. He emphasised that double booking of a counsel is not an excuse. He said the Speedy Courts Trial Act provides that a case should be heard within a reasonable time.   

The case was initially handled by one of the foreign judges assigned to hear high profile cases Justice Kabelo Lebotse. He however resigned at an advanced stage of the case where he had already ruled that two of the accused Corporal Tjekane Sebolai and Private Selone Ratsiu have a case to answer. He acquitted their co-accused Private Kopano Matsoso indicating that the prosecution has failed to link him to the offences charged.   

The matter was eventually allocated to the Chief Justice. 

Apart from the murder charge, the accused who were guarding the residence of Kamoli on May 09 2014 are also charged with attempted murder of Tsépo Jane who was in the company of Tang on that fateful day. It is alleged that they shot and injured him.   

They are further charged with malicious damage to property for allegedly destroying Jane’s vehicle on the same day.   

End 

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