May 15, 2018

2 min read

Retired judge appointed court martial judge advocate

Retired judge appointed court martial judge advocate

Lesotho sodliers on mutiny

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A retired Judge of the High Court of Lesotho, Justice Winston Matanzima Maqutu, is the newly appointed Judge Advocate of the Court Martial to try three members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) who are charged with mutiny. The three soldiers are Major Pitso Ramoepane and Captains Litekanyo Nyakane and Boiketsiso Fonane.

The appointment of Judge Maqutu follows last year's objection by defence Lawyers representing the three soldiers that the then Judge Advocate of the Court, Brigadier Khomo Mohobo and one of the court's prosecutors Advocate Lehooli Motikoe recuse themselves from hearing, arguing that they might be bias against them. With regard to the court's prosecution, Advocate Motikoe has been replaced by Attorney Koili Ndebele, Advocates Thulo Hoeane and Rethabile Setlojoane and Major Masehle of the LDF assists them. In its first sitting on Monday May 14, the court entertained heated arguments after reading the charges to the accused and their Lawyers raised objection with regard to murder as an alternative charge.

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One of the lawyers Advocate Karabo Mohau KC who represents Major Ramoepane said the court martial had no jurisdiction to try his client with murder since murder is tried only by the civilian courts and not the court martial. Advocate Mohau said it would be unfair if his client is tried twice with one crime since the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has instructed that he be tried by the civilian courts with murder.
However, Attorney Ndebele countered Advocate Mohau and put before court that his submission is misdirected since his client is only tried with mutiny by the court and not murder at all. According to the charge sheet, the accuseds are jointly and separately charged with taking part in a mutiny plot that happened in different ways. Besides Judge Maqutu, other members of the court's panel are Brigadier Mabote Sekoboto who is President of the Court, Lieutenant Colonel 'Mammohi Mofelehetsi, Lieutenant Colonel Motseki Kanetsi, Major Tseko Nthakong and Major Madondolo Rakhoro. The case is continuing.

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