Scott’s trial to start afresh

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

THE trial of dou­ble mur­der sus­pect, Lehl Lehlo­honolo Scott, who is fight­ing ex ex­tra­di­tion from South Africa, is set to start all over again.

This com comes af­ter it emerged the case, w which had been be­fore the Dur­ban North Mag­is­trate’s Court since April 2014, was be­ing heard by the “wrong court” which does not hav have ju­ris­dic­tion to deal with the matt mat­ter.

Public Prose­cu­torPro V Mood­ley, on 9 March 2 2015, said Scott’s case should be bef be­fore the Veru­lam Mag­is­trate’s Cou Court, which is about 25 kilo­me­ters fr from Dur­ban North, but still in the Kwazulu-natal prov­ince. Ms M Mood­ley, who took over the ca case from the re­tired Black Blackie Swart, ex­plained afte af­ter study­ing the case, sh she had re­alised when Sc Scott was ar­rested by th the South African po­lice on 6 April 2014, he was in an area un­der the ju ju­ris­dic­tion of Veru­lam a and not Dur­ban North Mag­is­trate’s Court. She ar­gued if the case con­tin­ued in the Dur­ban North Mag­is­trate’s Court and judg­ment was in favour of the pros­e­cu­tion, Scott could ap­peal on the grounds he had been con­victed in the wrong court.

Fol­low­ing this no­ti­fi­ca­tion, Mag­is­trate Vanitha Armu has since struck the case off the Dur­ban North Mag­is­trate’s Court roll and trans­ferred the mat­ter to Veru­lam Mag­is­trate’s Court “for a fresh start.”

Ad­vo­cate Nel, who is head­ing the pros­e­cu­tion, on Tues­day told the Le­sotho Times that it was “only pro­ce­dural that the mat­ter starts afresh in the right court with ju­ris­dic­tion to pre­side over it”.

Ad­vo­cate Nel fur­ther re­vealed Scott had since briefly ap­peared be­fore the Veru­lam Mag­is­trate’s Court—on 13 March 2015—for re­mand.

Mean­while, the Le­sotho Times also es­tab­lished that Scott has al­ready in­structed his lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Moso, of the South African Legal Aid, to seek his re­lease on bail when the case re­sumes in the Veru­lam Mag­is­trate’s Court on 21 April 2015.

Since the case started, two lawyers – Ad­vo­cates Shameer Goolab­jith and Nkany­iso Ma­phumu- lo – who had been hired by Scott to rep­re­sent him have quit due to non-pay­ment of their fees.

Scott (29) is ac­cused of bru­tally killing and mu­ti­lat­ing fel­low Koal­a­bata res­i­dents, Mo­holo­bela Seetsa (13) and Kamo­h­elo Mo­hata (22), in 2012 for rit­ual pur­poses.

Af­ter be­ing ar­rested along­side his mother, ’Malehlo­honolo, who is his co-ac­cused in the al­leged mur­ders, Scott es­caped from the high-se­cu­rity Maseru Cen­tral Pri­son on 14 oc­to­ber 2012, as he awaited trial.

Af­ter the po­lice failed to re-ar­rest Scott who had fled to South Africa af­ter his jailbreak, ’Malehlo­honolo was re­leased on M500 bail in Au­gust 2013 un­der strin­gent con­di­tions.

’Malehlo­honolo (59) had been di­rected by the court to re­port to the near­est po­lice sta­tion ev­ery Fri­day.

How­ever, the High Court re­laxed the bail con­di­tions on 18 Novem­ber 2014, and or­dered her to make the po­lice re­port once ev­ery two weeks.

How­ever, on 2 March 2015, the High Court re­fused to re­lease ’Malehlo­honolo’s pass­port, cit­ing she was a flight risk.

Jus­tice Teboho Moiloa, who made the rul­ing, said the pass­port was seized to en­sure ’Malehlo­honolo stays in the coun­try and is avail­able when­ever she is needed to ap­pear in court.

In an ef­fort to have his client granted fur­ther re­lief, ’Malehlo­honolo’s lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Thulo Hoeane, had ap­plied for the re­lease of his client’s pass­port so she could at­tend church ser­vices in South Africa—a re­quest turned down by Jus­tice Moiloa.

Ac­cord­ing to the judge, 31 Au­gust 2015 had been set as the date on which ‘Malehlo­honolo, and pos­si­bly her son, would be back in court, and could there­fore, not take risks by re­turn­ing her pass­port.

“The court date was set to en­able the com­ple­tion of the on­go­ing ex­tra­di­tion pro­ceed­ings for Lehlo­honolo in the Dur­ban North Mag­is­trate’s Court.

“How­ever, if he is ex­tra­dited be­fore that date, coun­sel should see me to set a date for trial,” Jus­tice Moiloa said.

Mean­while, in ad­di­tion to mur­der, Scott would also be charged with es­cap­ing from law­ful cus­tody.

But af­ter his ar­rest by the South African po­lice in Dur­ban on 6 April 2014, Scott claimed he was not a Le­sotho cit­i­zen but a South African, hence he could not be ex­tra­dited.


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