Bail ruling in editor case set for tomorrow

Bail ruling in editor case set for tomorrow

MASERU – JUDGEMENT in a case in which a soldier is applying for bail in the attempted murder case of Lesotho Times editor, Lloyd Mutungamiri, will be delivered tomorrow. High Court judge Justice Molefi Makara heard the heads of arguments from the applicant, Mahanyane Phusumane, and the Crown on Monday.

Advocate Molise Molise from Molati Chambers is appearing for Phusumane while the crown counsel is Advocate Thulo Hoeane.
Advocate Molise argued that Phusumane is asthmatic and has been suffering from ulcers since 12 December 2016 when he was attended at Makoanyane Military Hospital.

Molise said the chronic illness was an exceptional circumstance which the court has to take into consideration.
He argued that the Crown has not challenged the evidence that Phusumane is asthmatic and “what’s not denied should be taken and be accepted as true and correct by the law”.

However, Justice Makara said he had read Phusumane’s medical booklet and “found it incomprehensible”.
“I should not work on speculations that truly the petitioner is a sickly person then inscribe something out of it,” Justice Makara said.
“I should work on fair and clear notes. I simply do not understand the denotation written on the booklet,” he said.
Crown counsel Advocate Hoeane said Phusumane’s wife is a professional nurse presumably with a reasonable income and the requisite medical expertise and would also be available to look after the two minor children.

He said Phusumane is a serving member of the LDF and in that capacity he can easily access incriminating evidence and consort with his colleagues with it. He said the issue around his medical condition is not exceptional as a Makoanyane Military Hospital expert had verified there are adequate medical facilities in custody.

“It is thus not a ground of release on bail to allege that medical facilities in prison are inadequate while they are in fact adequate,” Hoeane said.
Hoeane said Phusumane is facing a very serious charge and if convicted could be imprisoned for a very long time.
“This possibility alone serves as an inducement for him to flee and evade justice,” Hoeane said.

“We implore the court not to grant him bail on account of the fact that we have a well-founded fear that he will not stand his trial,” he said.
Judgement in the matter is expected to be delivered tomorrow.

Senate Sekotlo

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