THE Maseru Magistrate's Court is yet to decide whether or not to transfer to the High Court the case in which four members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), are charged with the attempted murder of the former Editor of Lesotho Times and Sunday Express Newspapers, Lloyd Mutungamiri.
Nov. 21, 2022
2 min read
Court to decide when to hear editor attempted murder case
Former Lesotho Times editor, Lloyd Mutungamiri
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The accused including Rapele Mphaki, Khutlang Mochesane, Nyatso Tšoeunyane and Maribe Nathane are alleged to have tried to kill Mutungamiri during a “failed assassination plot” that occurred at the editor’s Lower Thamae home on July 9, 2016.
The four were initially charged along with their colleague, Mahanyane Phusumane for the same crime.
The prosecution introduced Phusumane as an accomplice witness but the defence refused to accept his evidence,
The defence thereafter filed an application in the High Court where they sought to have a question of law referred for determination.
The defence wanted to know whether or not consulting Phusumane who was initially accused no 3 in the case in the absence of the defence contravened the accused's right to a fair trial.
The team also wanted to know whether or not turning him into an accomplice witness did not violate the rights of the accused.
Apart from requesting the referral, the defence has also asked for a permanent stay of the proceedings because of what they call un-procedural conduct by the prosecution. They emphasised that the conduct has thrown away the fairness of the trial through the window.
They further requested that the witness be declared an unqualified witness to testify.
For his part, the prosecution argued that the application was a mere attempt by the defence to delay the proceedings. They stated that there is no substantial question of law raised by the defence, adding that the question they raised was long answered in previous cases.
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They contended that the accused knew in 2019 that Phusumane would testify as a witness in the case.
Asking the court to shoot down the application, the prosecution said the law does not require the prosecution to consult the defence when they drop charges against an accused or when they turn someone into a state witness.
The case that continues before Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Murenzi has since been postponed to December 6, for trial. - LeNA