Judge or­ders sol­dier’s re­lease

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

High Court act­ing judge Jus­tice Keketso Le­sihla Moahloli on Mon­day or­dered the im­me­di­ate re­lease of Cor­po­ral Mon­tšuoe Mot­seko from mil­i­tary de­ten­tion af­ter rul­ing his in­car­cer­a­tion was un­law­ful.

The judge said Corp Mot­seko was de­tained in vi­o­la­tion of the Le­sotho De­fence Force Dis­ci­pline Reg­u­la­tions of 1998.

The reg­u­la­tions re­quire that an of­fi­cer fac­ing charges be­fore a Court Mar­tial should be af­forded a hear­ing to ex­plain why he or she should not be de­tained pend­ing trial.

Corp Mot­seko was ar­rested on 9 De­cem­ber 2015 for al­legedly mak­ing false state­ments against Ma­jor Bu­lane Sechele and Lieu­tenan­tColonel Thato Phaila.

He al­legedly made the state­ments in pa­pers filed be­fore the High Court on 27 July 2015 in sup­port of an ap­pli­ca­tion in which he sought to be re­leased from cus­tody af­ter be­ing ar­rested for sus­pected mutiny.

Af­ter his re­lease, Corp Mot­seko was re­ar­rested for al­legedly mak­ing the false state­ments against the two of­fi­cers.

How­ever, Cor­po­ral Mot­seko on 22 De­cem­ber 2015 filed an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore the High Court seek­ing an or­der that his de­ten­tion be de­clared un­law­ful ab ini­tio.

Corp Mot­seko also wanted charges pre­ferred against him on 9 De­cem­ber 2015 to be set aside, ar­gu­ing they amounted to “dou­ble jeop­ardy” as he had al­ready been slapped with sim­i­lar charges on 4 Au­gust 2015.

Jus­tice Moahloli on Mon­day ruled that Corp Mot­seko should be re­leased from de­ten­tion, al­though his ar­rest was law­ful.

“The ar­rest of the ap­pli­cant on the 9th De­cem­ber 2015 was not un­law­ful ab ini­tio, but the de­ci­sion to place him un­der close ar­rest was un­law­ful in that it was not made in com­pli­ance with the statu­tory re­quire­ments.

“The first re­spon­dent is con­se­quently or­dered to re­lease the ap­pli­cant from close ar­rest forth­with.

“The charges pre­ferred against the ap­pli­cant on the 9th De­cem­ber 2015 are set aside,” reads the or­der.

The re­spon­dents were the LDF Com­man­der, Court Mar­tial Pres­i­dent and At­tor­ney gen­eral.

Read Cor­po­ral Mot­seko’s charges: “in mak­ing a com­plaint be­fore the High Court of Le­sotho re­lat­ing to his de­ten­tion in the Mil­i­tary De­ten­tion Cen­tre (Maseru Max­i­mum Prison), he know­ingly and falsely stated, in his found­ing af­fi­davit un­der Para­graph 12 thereof, that Ma­jor Sechele said ‘…i should not bother wast­ing money on lawyers and if I could be co­op­er­a­tive and tes­tify against a few in­di­vid­u­als like Ma­hao and Mo­toa, they will never touch me again. i gave him my word that i would do as he or­dered’.

“Fur­ther­more, he know­ingly and falsely stated, in the same found­ing af­fi­davit un­der para­graph 16 thereof, that Lt-col Phaila said ‘…i de­nied my­self a golden op­por­tu­nity by re­fus­ing to im­pli­cate other sol­diers on the al­leged mutiny’”.

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