Date set for opening Court of Appeal session
THE Court of Appeal will hold its first session of the year on 11 April, albeit under a new leadership.
This follows last month’s suspension of its president, Justice Kananelo Mosito, for alleged tax evasion.
Retired south African judge, Justice Ian Gordon Farlam, was subsequently appointed Justice Mosito’s replacement, but in an acting capacity.
In his suspension letter to Justice Mosito, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili said the move was meant to protect the court’s dignity.
Court of Appeal Assistant Registrar, Advocate ‘Matieho Mothobi, on Monday confirmed the sitting of the apex court, but declined to give the names of the judges to preside over the 23 cases to be heard during the session.
“The session will start on 11 April, but I cannot disclose the names of the judges for security reasons.
“What I can only tell you is that four of them are from south Africa, two from other neighbouring countries and three from Lesotho.
“Another reason why we don’t disclose their names in advance is that some lawyers do what we call forum shopping.
“This means if they know in advance who is going to preside over their cases, and they consider the judge harsh, they withdraw their cases.
“This creates logistical problems because arrangements would have been made for the cases to proceed,” she said.
According to the roll issued by Advocate Mothobi on 9 March, 23 cases — 22 civil and one criminal — would be heard during the session.
The case of 23 soldiers who want army commander Lieutenant-general Tlali Kamoli convicted of contempt of court for not releasing them from detention, will be among those to be heard by the Court of Appeal this session.
Although the number of soldiers remains 23 in court papers, five of the soldiers have since been released from the Maseru Maximum security Prison.