Judge lashes out

. . . ac­cuses At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s of­fice of lack of cour­tesy

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

HIGH Court judge, Jus­tice Tšeliso Mon­aphathi, on Mon­day lashed out at the of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral for not no­ti­fy­ing lawyers if it does not op­pose claims lodged against the gov­ern­ment.

Jus­tice Mon­aphathi made the re­marks when post­pon­ing a case in which Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank em­ployee, Tšepo Nt­janyana, is claim­ing M110 000 from the po­lice for as­sault and un­law­ful detention.

Mr Nt­janyana’s lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Ke­fuoe Mashaile, had told the court that the de­fen­dants in the case had not in­di­cated whether or not they would op­pose the claim.

The de­fen­dants in­clude the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice and At­tor­ney Gen­eral.

Ad­vo­cate Mashaile said since the de­fen­dants had not shown any in­ter­est to de­fend the case, he was ready to bring his client into the wit­ness box to tes­tify.

How­ever, the lawyer fur­ther said he could not pro­ceed be­cause the client was not in court that day, and sub­se­quently asked for a post­pone­ment of the case.

Crit­i­cis­ing the of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral, which rep­re­sents gov­ern­ment in civil cases, Jus­tice Mon­aphathi said it should have the cour­tesy to in­form com­plainants about its stance on such lit­i­ga­tion.

“I am sur­prised that the gov­ern­ment doesn’t no­tify the other party if it doesn’t de­fend the case. At least there should be a let­ter to a lawyer on the other side no­ti­fy­ing him that they have been served and that they don’t op­pose. This is a very se­ri­ous is­sue, yet the gov­ern­ment keeps quiet when it is be­ing sued; it does not have the cour­tesy to in­form the other party of its po­si­tion in such mat­ters. What kind of prac­tice is this?” he asked, be­fore post­pon­ing the case to Mon­day next week.

Mr Nt­janyana, ac­cord­ing to court records, al­leges of­fi­cers from Flight One Po­lice Sta­tion on 24 May 2014 blocked his ve­hi­cle as he was driv­ing in Masianokeng on his way from Thaba-tseka.

He al­leges as the po­lice forced their ve­hi­cle in front of his, the two cars had a slight col­li­sion.

Mr Nt­janyana fur­ther al­leges the po­lice then ar­rested and charged him with reck­less driv­ing. Mr Nt­janyana also al­leges he was locked-up in a cell at Flight One Po­lice Sta­tion, and se­verely as­saulted dur­ing the detention.

Ac­cord­ing to his lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Mashaile, Mr Nt­janyana spent a week at St Joseph’s Hos­pi­tal in Roma where he was treated fol­low­ing the detention and as­sault.

The lawyer fur­ther ar­gues his client was never brought to court by the po­lice to face any charge.

Ad­vo­cate Mashaile said be­cause of the al­leged ill-treat­ment, his client was seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion from the po­lice.

High Court judge Jus­tice Tšeliso Mon­aphathi

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