SA judge to pre­side over Kamoli case

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

A SOUTH African judge is set to pre­side over a case in which 18 de­tained sol­diers want army com­man­der Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli jailed for con­tempt of court.

High Court As­sis­tant Reg­is­trar, Staford Sharite yes­ter­day con­firmed the de­vel­op­ment, al­though he would not be drawn into re­veal­ing the judge’s iden­tity.

“A judge has been iden­ti­fied from South Africa to pre­side over the case. How­ever, I can­not dis­close his or her name at the mo­ment.

“The case will now be heard on the 21st Jan­uary,” he said.

The for­eign judge’s ser­vices were sought af­ter High Court judge, Jus­tice Molefi Makara, re­cused him­self cit­ing a col­lapsed re­la­tion­ship be­tween him and some of the lawyers in­volved in the case.

Twenty three sol­diers were ini­tially ar­rested be­tween May and June this year for sus­pected mutiny and de­tained at Maseru Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison.

How­ever, five sol­diers, namely Bri­gadier Tho­riso Mareka, LanceCor­po­ral Mo­hasi, Cor­po­ral Mo- hat­lane, Lance-cor­po­ral Jobo and Cor­po­ral Mon­tšuoe Mot­seko have since been re­leased and placed un­der open ar­rest af­ter the High Court ruled their con­tin­ued de­ten­tion was il­le­gal.

Bri­gadier Poqa Mo­toa, Colonel Ste­mere, Colonel Kolisang, Ma­jor Makhetha, Cap­tain Chaka, Sergeant Mokhobo, Sergeant Se­makale, Sergeant Lekhabun­yane, Cor­po­ral Mokhoro, Cor­po­ral Let­si­lane, Cor­po­ral Lipoto, Cor­po­ral Manaka, Cor­po­ral Chele, Lance Cor­po­ral Molefi, Lance-cor­po­ral Makhooane, Pri­vate Pama, Pri­vate Bolofo and Pri­vate Ral­itlemo re­main in Maseru Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison.

On 5 Oc­to­ber 2015, Jus­tice Makara ruled the sol­dier’s de­ten­tion was il­le­gal and or­dered their re­lease and place­ment on open ar­rest.but de­spite the or­der, the sol­diers re­mained in prison, prompt­ing their con­tempt ap­pli­ca­tion on 2 Novem­ber 2015.

The case was sup­posed to be ar­gued be­fore Jus­tice Makara on 20 Novem­ber 2015, but Lt-gen Kamoli’s lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Motiea Teele (King’s Coun­sel), in­formed the judge that the com­man­der wanted him off the case for fear of bias.

The lawyer ar­gued Jus­tice Makara was likely to be bi­ased against Lt-gen Kamoli af­ter the judge ex­pressed anger, in cham­bers, over crit­i­cism lev­eled against him over a lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion. The crit­i­cism con­cerned the judg­ment Jus­tice Makara had made in the sol­diers’ first con­tempt ap­pli­ca­tion.

Jus­tice Makara on 16 Oc­to­ber 2015 ruled that Lt-gen Kamoli was not in con­tempt for not re­leas­ing the sol­diers de­spite his 5 Oc­to­ber 2015 order­ing him to do so. The judge noted Lt-gen Kamoli might not have clearly un­der­stood the or­der hence his fail­ure to re­lease them. It was this de­ci­sion which was crit­i­cised on ra­dio, with the crit­i­cism prompt­ing the judge to sum­mon crown and de­fence lawyers to his cham­bers.

On 1 De­cem­ber 2015, Jus­tice Makara told a packed court­room he was tak­ing him­self off the case not be­cause of what had been al­leged in an af­fi­davit sup­port­ing the re­cusal ap­pli­ca­tion, but the “col­lapsed” re­la­tion­ship be­tween him and some of the lawyers in­volved in the case.

Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli

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