Scott sends chill­ing warn­ing

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Brian Chi­wanza

DOU­BLE rit­ual mur­der sus­pect Lehlo­honolo Scott yes­ter­day sent a chilly warn­ing to po­lice of­fi­cers who con­tinue to “ha­rass” him in prison.

The 30-year-old told Chief Mag­is­trate ‘Matankiso Nthunya he would not tol­er­ate his un­re­lent­ing in­ter­ro­ga­tion by de­tec­tives and threat­ened to “do some­thing shock­ing” if the in­ves­ti­ga­tors do not stop vis­it­ing him for in­ter­views as he awaits trial in Maseru Cen­tral Prison.

Scott has been charged with the mur­der of Mo­holo­bela Seetsa (13) and Kamo­h­elo Mo­hata (22) in Jan­uary and June 2012 re­spec­tively. He was ar­rested on 12 July 2012 along­side his mother ’Malehlo­honolo, but es­caped from Maseru Cen­tral Prison on 14 Oc­to­ber 2012 and fled to South Africa.

His life on the run, how­ever, ended on 6 April 2014 when he was ar­rested in Dur­ban, and ex­tra­dited to Le­sotho on 21 Oc­to­ber this year. Scott ap­peared be­fore the High Court the same day he was brought back home un­der heavy guard, with pre­sid­ing judge, Jus­tice Te­boho Joseph Moiloa, re­mand­ing him in cus­tody un­til 23 Novem­ber.

But on 4 Oc­to­ber, Scott was brought be­fore the Maseru Mag­is­trate’s Court and charged with es­cap­ing from law­ful cus­tody. His case was re­manded to 18 Novem­ber, hence his ap­pear­ance be­fore Chief Mag­is­trate Nthunya yes­ter­day.

How­ever, Scott took the court by sur­prise when he de­manded the po­lice in­ter­ro­ga­tion to stop, say­ing he was “tired” of be­ing in­ter­ro­gated about his prison-break and also be­ing forced to im­pli­cate cer­tain politi­cians in the es­cape.

“If the po­lice con­tinue to ill-treat me, I will do some­thing that will shock peo­ple,” Scott told Chief Mag­is­trate Nthunya.

“While I was in prison in South Africa, de­tec­tives from Le­sotho vis­ited me to ask about my es­cape.

“Af­ter the visit, I went through ex­tra­di­tion and the po­lice of­fi­cers were still there, ask­ing me the same ques­tions.

“I am tired of this ha­rass­ment, and I am ready to face my charges and give ev­i­dence in court.

“I was sur­prised to see the de­tec­tives when I was taken into cus­tody back here. They tried to in­ter­view me again but I dis­missed them.

“It is true that I told them that I wanted to see my lawyer first be­fore I could talk to them.

“De­tec­tive Khatleli then said I should not dis­ap­point them af­ter meet­ing with my lawyer and Of­fi­cer Ba­holo said they would come back again for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

“They told me they had names they wanted me to con­firm; names of politi­cians they wanted me to ac­cuse of help­ing me es­cape. But when they came back again, I told them that I didn’t know any­thing about the peo­ple they were telling me about.

“I also told them I never said I would think about their pro­posal to con­firm the names, but only that I needed to con­sult my lawyer.

“I sim­ply told them I was not in­ter­ested. And I made it clear to them that I was not go­ing to say any­thing about my es­cape.

“But af­ter I told them about my de­ci­sion, they started ill-treat­ing me. At one point, they told me to take off my clothes which I did, and I didn’t know what they were look­ing for.”

Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP) Le­aba Thet­sane, who was be­fore the court yes­ter­day, said there was noth­ing spe­cial about

Scott’s case and that it should be treated just like any other trial.

“As much as peo­ple are in­ter­ested in Scott’s

case, it is just like any other trial and it has to fol­low nor­mal court pro­ce­dures,” Ad­vo­cate Thet­sane told the court.

“It is a fact that some­time in 2012, the ac­cused ap­peared be­fore this court charged with mur­der and this court com­mit­ted him to the High Court. Un­for­tu­nately, the ac­cused es­caped from Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices.

“I know the po­lice are in­ter­ested to know how the ac­cused es­caped but then, I ad­vised them not to take him into their cus­tody.

“I ad­vised the po­lice to seek per­mis­sion from the Com­mis­sioner of Pris­ons when­ever they want to in­ter­view the ac­cused. I also ad­vised my clients (po­lice) that they should act as if they are in the Charge Of­fice.

“The ac­cused then asked for per­mis­sion from in­ves­ti­ga­tors to con­sult his lawyer and I told them they should give him the op­por­tu­nity to do so.

“On 25 Oc­to­ber, the ac­cused told the of­fi­cers that his lawyer had in­structed him not to say any­thing. This was the se­cond time he had said this.

“I told my clients that they shouldn’t per­sist. My clients then de­cided to charge him with es­cap­ing from prison.

“The ac­cused then ap­peared in Court on 4 Novem­ber; that is when the al­le­ga­tions (of the po­lice ha­rass­ing Scott) started.

“In fact, the ac­cused was sup­posed to be be­fore the High Court, and not in this court.”

Ad­vo­cate Thet­sane fur­ther told the court that if Scott’s lawyer had any com­plaints against the in­ves­ti­ga­tors, he should have ap­proached the courts in­stead of go­ing to the me­dia. The lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Thulo Hoeane, was not in court yes­ter­day and went pub­lic about the po­lice in­ter­ro­ga­tions early this month.

“The al­le­ga­tions are that my clients want the ac­cused to im­pli­cate top politi­cians who helped him es­cape from prison.

“But the lawyer should have ap­proached the court re­gard­ing his com­plaint and not the me­dia,” the DPP said.

In re­sponse, Scott said he was to blame for the al­le­ga­tions.

“I want to make it clear to the DPP and this court that I was re­spon­si­ble for the al­le­ga­tions. I am not pro­tect­ing my lawyer but I am talk­ing about my con­cerns,” he said.

Af­ter sub­mis­sions by Scott and the DPP, Mag­is­trate Nthunya said ev­ery­one was equal be­fore the law.

“All peo­ple, whether politi­cians, the rich, poor and what­ever na­tion­al­ity; ev­ery­one is equal be­fore the law.

“The court of law is es­tab­lished to ad­min­is­ter jus­tice with­out fear, favour or prej­u­dice,” she said.

Mean­while, the case con­tin­ues on 2 De­cem­ber 2015.

While I was in prison in South Africa, de­tec­tives from Le­sotho vis­ited me to ask about my es­cape. Af­ter the visit, I went through ex­tra­di­tion and the po­lice of­fi­cers were still there, ask­ing me the same ques­tions. I am tired of this ha­rass­ment, and I am ready to face my charges and give ev­i­dence in court

LEHLO­HONOLO Scott

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