Scotts re­ject new lawyer

Lesotho Times - - News -

KOALABATA dou­ble rit­ual mur­der sus­pects, Lehlo­honolo Scott and his mother ‘Malehlo­honolo, yes­ter­day re­jected govern­ment’s of­fer of a new lawyer, in­sist­ing they wanted to con­tinue with Ad­vo­cate Thulo Hoeane.

The sus­pects met with High Court As­sis­tant Regis­trar Pon­tšo Phafoli to dis­cuss the lawyer govern­ment had iden­ti­fied to re­place Ad­vo­cate Hoeane.

Ad­vo­cate Hoeane, who was also ap­pointed by the govern­ment to rep­re­sent the Scotts, on 13 April 2016 told the High Court he was with­draw­ing from the case cit­ing “pro­fes­sional rea­sons”.

Af­ter the an­nounce­ment, pre­sid­ing judge, Jus­tice Te­boho Moiloa, post­poned trial to 16 May 2016 and in­structed the Of­fice of the High Court Regis­trar to ap­point a new lawyer for the sus­pects.

The Scotts, who are ac­cused of butcher­ing two peo­ple in Koalabata four years ago, pleaded not guilty to mur­der when trial re- sumed on 11 April 2016.

Ad­vo­cate Hoeane 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.

How­ever, the lawyer made a Uturn a week later and told the Le­sotho Times he had re­con­sid­ered his de­ci­sion af­ter the sus­pects pleaded with him to con­tinue rep­re­sent­ing them.

The lawyer said he was then seek­ing a meet­ing with Chief Jus­tice Nthomeng Ma­jara to re­quest for a for­eign judge for the trial. Only a for­eign judge, Ad­vo­cate Hoeane said, could be neu­tral in the case which has trans­fixed the na­tion due to the bru­tal­ity of the mur­ders.

But the Le­sotho Times learnt Ad­vo­cate Hoeane failed to meet with Chief Jus­tice Ma­jara un­til the Scotts were sum­moned to ap­pear be­fore Ms Phafoli yes­ter­day morn­ing.

Ms Phafoli told the Le­sotho Times: “It is true we had a meet­ing for an in­ter­view re­gard­ing a new lawyer the court had iden­ti­fied to rep­re­sent them, but they in­sisted Ad­vo­cate Hoeane was still their lawyer. I can­not re­veal the name of the new lawyer we had iden­ti­fied to rep­re­sent them.”

On his part, Ad­vo­cate Hoeane said: “I was not in­vited to to­day’s meet­ing, but I knew my clients had been re­quested to sign doc­u­ments which sum­moned them to ap­pear be­fore the Regis­trar for an in­ter­view to get them a new lawyer.

I have said it that those peo­ple will not ac­cept any other lawyer ex­cept me. That’s what they told me. So I knew they were go­ing to re­ject the new lawyer.”

Asked if he was not play­ing de­lay­ing tac­tics to­gether with the Scotts, Ad­vo­cate Hoeane said he had noth­ing to ben­e­fit from the de­lay.

“What ben­e­fit would I get if this mat­ter is de­layed? I am not play­ing games here. This is a se­ri­ous mat­ter. I don’t have any prob­lems with Scott and his mother. But I have a prob­lem with the way the judge has been con­duct­ing the case. And for that I am go­ing to file an ap­pli­ca­tion for his re­cusal when the case re­sumes on Mon­day next week. Like I said be­fore, we would rather have a for­eign judge to pre­side over this mat­ter for the neu­tral­ity and fair­ness the trial de­serves.”

The Scotts were ar­rested on 12 July 2012 for al­legedly killing their Koalabata neigh­bours, Mo­holo­bela Seetsa (13) and Kamo­h­elo Mo­hata (22) in Jan­uary and June 2012, re­spec­tively. The de­ceased’s mu-

tilated bod­ies led to sug­ges­tions they had been killed for rit­ual pur­poses.

How­ever, Scott es­caped from Maseru Cen­tral Prison on 14 Oc­to­ber 2012 and was on the run un­til South African po­lice ar­rested him in Dur­ban as he emerged from a church ser­vice on 6 April 2014.

Af­ter his ar­rest, Scott ap­peared be­fore the Veru­lam Mag­is­trate’s Court and Dur­ban North Mag­is­trate’s Court, where he ar­gued his name was Lehlo­honolo Mokhele. He also said he was a South African as he fought ex­tra­di­tion to Le­sotho.

How­ever, he lost the ex­tra­di­tion bat­tle and on 21 Oc­to­ber 2015, was brought to Le­sotho and ap­peared be­fore the High Court the same day where Jus­tice Moiloa re­manded him in cus­tody un­til 23 Novem­ber 2015. His mother had been re­leased on M500 bail in Au­gust 2015.

On 4 Novem­ber 2015, Scott also ap­peared be­fore the Maseru Mag­is­trate’s Court and charged with es­cap­ing from law­ful cus­tody.

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