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Delaying tactics not tolerated in ten soldiers case

JUDGE SETS RECORD STRAIGHT

Maseru, Apr.06 — Presiding judge in a case in which 10 members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) are charged with multiple offenses including murder, Dr. Onkemetse Tshosa has on Tuesday remarked that he will not let the process of the High Court of Lesotho be abused.

Justice Tshosa made these comments after two of the defense lawyers indicated that they have filed interlocutory applications with the court on April 01 2021. It was discovered that one of the applications was before court while the other one was not. The judge raised a concern that the last hearing date for the trial was March 26 2021 and the applicants are only making the applications when the trial is about to proceed. He also raised a concern that the case is proceeding at a slow pace.

He stated that it has been a pattern that applications are made closer to a date when a case is set to proceed. He described that practise as unprofessional adding that he will not be part of it. He further remarked that it is unprofessional to serve a judge with papers on his way to the court.

He emphasised that should not be the practise adding that he will not accept the same thing repeating itself.

The judge further emphasised that lawyers too have the responsibility to ensure that papers which they have filed with the court through the office of the registrar reach offices they are intended for.

The accused are alleged to have acted in concert and in furtherance of a common purpose, and strangled Lekhoele Noko, Khothatso Makibinyane and Molise Pakela to death during incidents that happened at Setibing in Maseru on May 16, 2017. It is alleged that they also dumped the bodies of the deceased in Mohale Dam.

The charges they are facing include conspiracy to murder, unlawful detention and issuing superior orders to unlawful detention.

The accused have pleaded jurisdiction indicating that the presiding judge is not qualified to hear the matter, adding that there is a pending case which challenges the powers of the presiding judge to deal with the case. Some have objected to additional charges against them while others declined to make a plea.

LENA

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