‘Scott will not hang’
Ritual murder suspect, lehlohonolo scott, will not be killed even if he is convicted of the charges he faces and sentenced to death by the High Court.
This was confirmed by Law, Constitutional affairs and Human Rights Minister Motlalentoa letsosa and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) leaba thetsane during a press briefing held in Maseru yesterday.
speaking after scott was extradited from south africa yesterday morning, the Mr letsosa said the lesotho government undertook not to effect the death penalty should he be convicted, when seeking his deportation.
the governments of south africa and lesotho signed an extradition treaty in 2001, which, among others, provides that either country could refuse to extradite a suspect who is likely to be sentenced to death if found guilty. However, only lesotho upholds the death penalty while south africa does not.
Referring to article 4 of the treaty, advocate thetsane quoted: “the article provides discretionary refusal of extradition. extradition may be refused under any of the following circumstances: Where the offence for which extradition is requested is subject to the jurisdiction of the requested state and that state will prosecute that offence;
“Where the person sought is being prosecuted by the Requested state for the offence for which extradition is requested; where the offence carries the death penalty under the law of the requesting state, unless that state undertakes that if a sentence of death is imposed, it will not be carried out.”
advocate thetsane told the media briefing that it was against this background that the government of lesotho pledged that scott would not be hanged even if he is sentenced to death.
“You may want to ask if ever south africa would know if a death penalty is effected against scott or not, but you see, if we may effect it against our promise to south africa, we will be running a risk whereby south africa will no longer extradite people to lesotho in the future,” the DPP said.
advocate thetsane explained should the High Court sentence scott to death, the King is vested with powers to overturn that sentence for a lenient one.
Mr letsosa further explained: “the government will not, in any way, influence the courts of law on how to sentence scott or interfere in any of the court proceedings.
If the judge finds Scott guilty and feels that a death sentence should be his punishment, he or she will pass that sentence without any interference from government.
“Processes not to effect that sentence will be left dealt with by government afterwards. it means the executive will consult with the King and ask him to exercise his right to overturn the death penalty against scott.”
Mr letsosa explained scott’s extradition came after south africa’s Justice and Correctional service Minister Michael Masutha endorsed his deportation papers on 2 october 2015.
He said: “Following lengthy processes, the south african Justice Minister signed the extradition order on 2 october, sealing the extradition of scott to lesotho, hence his arrival today.”
scott (30) escaped from Maseru Central Prison on 14 october 2012 while awaiting trial for the alleged murder of fellow Koalabata residents Moholobela seetsa (13) and Kamohelo Mohata (22) in January and June 2012, respectively.
He had been arrested on 12 July 2012 alongside his mother ’Malehlohonolo, following the discovery of seetsa and Mohata’s mutilated bodies in Koalabata.
after almost two years on the run, scott was arrested in Durban on 6 april 2014 and lost his fight against extradition in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on 5 May this year.
Lehlohonolo Scott sits in a police vehicle as he passes the Maseru Border Post yesterday.