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Accused soldiers dump new lawyer

Justice Onkemetse Tshosa

Nov. 29, 2020 2 min read

2 min read

FIVE members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) who are accused of the 2012 murder of three Mafeteng men have turned down an offer of a new legal representative, after their own lawyers jilted them last week.

Captain Litekanyo Nyakane along with Lance Corporals Khauhelo Makoae and Sebili Sebilo as well as Privates Tšepo Tlakeli and Thebe Tšephe said they were not comfortable with being represented by Advocate Vuyani Mone who was appointed by the registrar of the High Court to replace their lawyers.

The entire defense team officially withdrew from the case last week, arguing that their clients were being ill-treated in prison where they are awaiting trial, adding they therefore did not want to be part of that abuse.

The accused face the murder of Thabang Mosole, Monyake Matsie and Phakiso Ntala Letatabe in Ha Motanyane, Mafeteng on April 7, 2012.

On Friday, Advocate Mone informed Justice Onkemetse Tshosa that although he was ready to begin the trial, the soldiers told him during a pre-trial conference that they still have their own lawyers and they are not comfortable with him.

He said for a fair trial, the accused should be represented by a lawyer they have faith in.

But Adv Mosoeunyane Masiphole for the Crown said with that kind of attitude, the accused should find their own lawyers so that the trial can start as soon as possible.

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“This is a high profile case and it should not have pended for so long, it has to start now. We cannot afford not to commence on Monday (November 30). Therefore the accused should find their own lawyers, failing which they should be forced to represent themselves if they still cannot accept the appointed counsel,” he said.

He argued that if they do not want to be represented, that is a clear indication that they do not want a fair trial for themselves, adding that being the case, they should not be allowed to hold the court and the entire administration of justice to ransom.

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