‘No grounds of ap­peal for Scott’

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

PUBLIC Pros­e­cu­tor thuthukani Magubane, says he sees “no grounds” on which the Koal­a­bata dou­ble mur­der sus­pect, Lehlo­honolo Scott, could ap­peal a rul­ing made by the veru­lam Mag­is­trate’s court on tues­day last week, which or­dered his ex­tra­di­tion to Le­sotho.

How­ever, Mag­is­trate Mdunge gave Scott 15 days to ap­peal the de­ci­sion, fail­ing which he would be left “with no choice” but ex­tra­dite him to Le­sotho to stand trial for the mur­ders he al­legedly com­mit­ted in 2012.

But un­til yes­ter­day, Scott had not chal­lenged the rul­ing, ac­cord­ing to Ad­vo­cate Magubane — a mem­ber of the South African Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity (NPA) who was as­signed to pros­e­cute the case in veru­lam.

Ad­vo­cate Magubane yes­ter­day told the Le­sotho Times in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view that there was no ba­sis for Scott’s ap­peal.

“He (Scott) has not filed any­thing to ap­peal the judg­ment. As a mat­ter of fact, there are no grounds of ap­peal for him.

“He was given 15 days to chal­lenge the rul­ing, and hasn’t done so eight days on.

“I know the grace pe­riod hasn’t lapsed; he still has seven more days to make the ap­peal, but I be­lieve his lawyers have ad­vised him there are no grounds of ap­peal for him re­ally.”

Ad­vo­cate Magubane fur­ther ex­plained the NPA was al­ready pre­par­ing ex­tra­di­tion doc­u­ments “which we are go­ing to present be­fore the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and cor­rec­tional Ser­vices (Michael Ma­sutha) to take over and carry out the ex­tra­di­tion pro­cesses on be­half of the South African gov­ern­ment.

In the process, the min­is­ter will com­mu­ni­cate with the gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho about this is­sue,” Ad­vo­cate Magubane said.

ef­forts to get a com­ment from Scott’s lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Nkany­iso Maphumulo, proved fruit­less, while Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice spokesper­son, Se­nior In­spec­tor clif­ford Molefe, told the Le­sotho Times: “You should be aware that the court has given him 15 days to ap­peal the rul­ing.

the po­lice team which has al­ways at­tended Scott’s case in South Africa has briefed the com­mis­sioner about all the de­vel­op­ments per­tain­ing to the mat­ter and all I can say to you is that we are ready to fetch him from dur­ban if he does not ap­peal within the 15 days that he was given.”

once he ar­rives in Le­sotho, Se­nior In­spec­tor Molefe added, Scott would be taken to the Maseru cen­tral cor­rec­tional Ser­vice, from where he dramatically es­caped on 14 oc­to­ber 2012.

the then 27-year-old had been ar­rested on 12 July 2012 along­side his mother ’Malehlo­honolo, and es­caped from the max­i­mum se­cu­rity jail as he awaited trial for the al­leged mur­der and mu­ti­la­tion of his fel­low Koal­a­bata res­i­dents, Mo­holo­bela Seetsa (13) and Kamo­h­elo Mo­hata (22) in Jan­uary and June 2012, re­spec­tively.

“We will have to take him to Maseru cen­tral cor­rec­tional Ser­vice from where he es­caped be­fore flee­ing to South Africa.

“that’s the only place we are al­lowed to put him while he awaits his trial,” said Se­nior In­spec­tor Molefe.

the Min­is­ter of Po­lice, Monyane Moleleki, while telling the Le­sotho Times on tues­day that he had not been briefed about the lat­est de­vel­op­ments in the Scott saga, nonethe­less noted the “se­ri­ous na­ture” of the case.

“this is a very se­ri­ous case and the gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho would like to know how Scott es­caped from the tight se­cu­rity of the Maseru cen­tral cor­rec­tional Ser­vice.

“At the mo­ment, I have not been briefed about what will hap­pen af­ter that judg­ment was made last week in South Africa.”

Jus­tice and cor­rec­tional Ser­vice min­istry Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary, teboho Mohlomi, also told the Le­sotho Times all the depart­ment could do was wait to re­ceive Scott from the po­lice.

“We are just wait­ing for the po­lice to fin­ish the nec­es­sary pro­cesses; the po­lice are the ones deal­ing with the mat­ter at the mo­ment.

once they are done, they will de- liver Scott to us for cus­tody while his trial con­tin­ues.”

on his part, the direc­tor of Public Pros­e­cu­tions, King’s coun­sel Leaba thet­sane, on tues­day told the Le­sotho Times he was yet to re­ceive “a for­mal re­port from the po­lice, so I can­not com­ment on the is­sue.”

Mean­while, when pass­ing the ex­tra­di­tion rul­ing last week, Mag­is­trate Mdunge said he had been con­vinced Scott was “the right per­son” wanted by the Le­sotho gov­ern­ment in con­nec­tion with the killing of Seetsa and Mo­hata.

the mu­ti­la­tion of the bod­ies led to spec­u­la­tion that the duo had been killed for rit­ual pur­poses.

the mag­is­trate dis­missed Scott’s sub­mis­sion, through his lawyer Ad­vo­cate Maphumulo, that the mat­ter had been “politi­cised” and would be killed once he was de­ported to face trial in Le­sotho.

Le­sotho up­holds the death penalty while South Africa does not.

Ad­vo­cate Maphumulo, the Le­sotho Times un­der­stands, was re­fer­ring to a state­ment made by the demo­cratic congress leader, Pakalitha Mo­sisili, prior to the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap elec­tions, in which he ac­cused the then dr thomas tha­bane-led gov­ern­ment of al­legedly pay­ing Scott’s legal fees through Le­sotho’s dur­ban con­sulate.

the state­ment by dr Mo­sisili, who is now prime min­is­ter, was widely re­ported by the lo­cal me­dia.

As ev­i­dence, Ad­vo­cate Ma­phu-

mulo pre­sented copies of the story in ques­tion be­fore the veru­lam Mag­is­trate’s court, not­ing such state­ments could see Scott be­ing sen­tenced to death if ex­tra­dited to Le­sotho.

How­ever, Mag­is­trate Mdunge ruled the sub­mis­sion was “ir­rel­e­vant” as it had noth­ing to do with prov­ing whether or not Scott was “the right per­son” wanted in Le­sotho for the al­leged charges.

the trial, which was be­fore the dur­ban North Mag­is­trate’s court since April 2014, had to start all over again be­cause it was be­ing heard in the “wrong court”.

the then Public Pros­e­cu­tor v Mood­ley, on 9 March 2015, said the case should be be­fore the veru­lam Mag­is­trate’s court, which is about 25 kilo­me­tres from dur­ban North, but still in the Kwazu­luNatal prov­ince.

Ms Mood­ley, who took over the case from the re­tired Blackie Swart, ex­plained she had re­alised when Scott was ar­rested by the South African po­lice on 6 April 2014 af­ter al­most two years on the run, he was in an area un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of veru­lam and not the dur­ban North Mag­is­trate’s court.

She ar­gued if the case con­tin­ued 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 struck the case off the dur­ban North Mag­is­trate’s court roll and trans­ferred it to veru­lam “for a fresh start”.

Mean­while, in ad­di­tion to mur­der, Scott would also be charged with es­cap­ing from law­ful cus­tody, should he be ex­tra­dited as ex­pected.

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