Court hearsre­cusal ar­gu­ments in ed­i­tor’s case

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

LAWYERS rep­re­sent­ing the sol­diers who are fac­ing at­tempted mur­der charges re­lat­ing to the July 2016 shoot­ing of the Le­sotho Times ed­i­tor, Lloyd Mu­tungamiri, will today ar­gue why they want Se­nior Res­i­dent Mag­is­trate, Phethise Motanyane to re­cuse him­self from the case.

It had been an­tic­i­pated that the long awaited trial would fi­nally kick off on 15 March this year when the five ap­peared be­fore Mag­is­trate Motanyane but on that day their lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Ka­belo Le­tuka, im­me­di­ately in­formed the court that they in­tended to for­mally ap­ply for the se­nior mag­is­trate to re­cuse him­self from the case for undis­closed rea­sons.

Mr Motanyane then de­cided to post­pone the case to today to al­low the ac­cused’s lawyers to ad­vance rea­sons why they want him out of the case.

The five army of­fi­cers are Bri­gadier Rapele Mphaki (47), Khut­lang Mochesane (57), Ma­hanyane Phusumane (37), Ny­atso Tšoe­un­yane (41) and Maribe Nathane (35).

They al­legedly shot Mr Mu­tungamiri at his home in Up­per Thamae in Maseru dur­ing the late hours of 9 July 2016, af­ter he had knocked off from work. He sus­tained se­vere fa­cial, den­tal and hand in­juries, caus­ing him to un­dergo ex­ten­sive surgery in South Africa.

Dur­ing their court ap­pear­ance on 15 March 2018, Ad­vo­cate Le­tuka told Mr Motanyane that his clients were not com­fort­able with him pre­sid­ing over the case.

“We in­tend to make an ap­pli­ca­tion that Your Wor­ship should re­cuse him­self and we will give rea­sons when the re­cusal ap­pli­ca­tion is heard,” Adv Le­tuka said.

Mr Motanyane, then or­dered the lawyers to file a for­mal ap­pli­ca­tion for his re­cusal so that it would be ar­gued today.

The post­pone­ment fur­ther de­layed the case which had been slated to be­gin af­ter the Act­ing Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions, Adv Hlale­fang Motinyane, last month di­rected that the case should be heard by a mag­is­trate of the rank of Se­nior Res­i­dent Mag­is­trate.

It was pre­vi­ously presided over by Res­i­dent Mag­is­trate, Polo Banyane, who had only been re­mand­ing the ac­cused each time they ap­peared be­fore him while await­ing the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the pros­e­cu­tion’s case.

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