Scott saga takes new twist

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

AD­VO­CATE Thulo Hoeane has made an about-turn on his de­ci­sion to quit the case of dou­ble rit­ual mur­der sus­pects, Lehlo­honolo Scott and his mother ‘Malehlo­honolo, but the lawyer is now push­ing for a for­eign judge to pre­side over the mat­ter.

Ad­vo­cate Hoeane, who was ap­pointed by the govern­ment to rep­re­sent the Scotts, last Wed­nes­day shocked a fully packed High Court when he an­nounced his with­drawal as the trial was about to be­gin.

Af­ter the an­nounce­ment, pre­sid­ing judge, Jus­tice Te­boho Moiloa was left with no choice but to post­pone the trial to 16 May 2016. The Scotts, who are ac­cused of butcher­ing two peo­ple in Koal­a­bata four years ago, pleaded not guilty when the trial re­sumed last week.

While Ad­vo­cate Hoeane was not clear be­fore the court what he meant by “pro­fes­sional rea­sons” when he an­nounced he was pulling out of the case, he later told the Le­sotho Times he was not happy with the way Jus­tice Moiloa had con­ducted the trial since it started hence his de­ci­sion to with­draw.

Asked why he did not ap­ply for the judge’s re­cusal if he sus­pected he was bi­ased, Ad­vo­cate Hoeane said he did not be­lieve his ap­pli­ca­tion would be suc­cess­ful hence his de­ci­sion to quit.

How­ever, the lawyer told the Le­sotho Times yes­ter­day he had re­con­sid­ered the de­ci­sion af­ter the sus­pects pleaded with him to con­tinue rep­re­sent­ing them.

“I met Lehlo­honolo and his mother again in prison. He doesn’t want any other lawyer to rep­re­sent him in the trial, but me,” said Ad­vo­cate Hoeane.

“They both said we had come a long way with the trial and trust me to rep­re­sent them. I have since re­con­sid­ered my po­si­tion con­cern­ing my with­drawal from this mat­ter.”

The lawyer said he was now seek­ing a meet­ing with Chief Jus­tice Nthomeng Ma­jara to re­quest for the ap­point­ment of a for­eign judge to pre­side over the trial. Only a for­eign judge, Ad­vo­cate Hoeane said, could be neu­tral in the case.

“We now have this feel­ing that ev­ery lo­cal judge has an in­ter­est in this case con­sid­er­ing how much the trial has be­come a sub­ject of in­ter­est to the en­tire na­tion,” he said.

“We feel lo­cal judges are sym­pa­thetic to the vic­tims in this mat­ter. That’s why we need a judge from the south­ern African re­gion, but def­i­nitely not Le­sotho.”

Ad­vo­cate Hoeane said his ef­forts to se­cure a meet­ing with Chief Jus­tice Ma­jara this week had so far been un­suc­cess­ful.

“The judge is hardly avail­able in her of­fice, so it has been dif­fi­cult to meet her since Mon­day,” he said.

“But, I am hope­ful that I will even­tu­ally meet her be­fore the end of this week and raise our con­cerns. The chief jus­tice is vested with pow­ers to ap­point judges for any case, hence she is the right per­son to ap­proach. My clients have ev­ery le­gal right to a fair trial.”

The Scotts were ar­rested on 12 July 2012 for al­legedly killing Mo­holo­bela Seetsa (13) and Kamo­h­elo Mo­hata (22) in Jan­uary and July 2012, re­spec­tively.

The vic­tims’ body parts were found in three lo­ca­tions in Koal­a­bata, prompt­ing spec­u­la­tion they had been killed for rit­ual pur­poses.

Ad­vo­cate thulo Hoeane

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