Editor case: prosecution opposes bail

Editor case: prosecution opposes bail

MASERU – THE prosecution is fiercely opposing the bail application of two of the three soldiers accused of trying to kill Lesotho Times Editor Lloyd Mutungamiri.  The prosecution says the soldiers, Mahanyane Phusumane and Khutlang Mochesane, should remain behind bars pending their trial because they are likely to abscond.

Lance Sergeant Mohoang has filed an affidavit refuting almost every argument that the soldiers make to justify why they should be granted bail.
In his affidavit Phusumane tells the court that he is not a flight risk because he is a Lesotho citizen, has a wife, a child and supports his deceased sister’s child.

But Lance Sergeant Mohoang counters this, in his opposing affidavit, by saying there is no suggestion that Phusumane’s wife is unable to look after their children while he is in custody.  “It is also significant that the Petitioner does not even attempt to put forward any explanation to counter the fact that he is in fact a suspect in the attempted murder of the aforesaid Lloyd Mutungamiri,” Lance Sergeant Mohoang says.

To Phusumane’s claim that he will stand trial, Lance Sergeant Mohoang says Mutungamiri was shot on July 9, 2016 but Phusumane was only handed over to the police on November 28, 2017 – nearly 18 months later.
“In all this time he was aware or ought to have been aware that this matter was under investigation. He did nothing. He did not surrender himself until he was arrested.”

“This is not the conduct of a person who can be trusted to stand his trial. On the contrary this conduct typifies behavior that clearly shows that he has no intention to stand trial.”
Phusumane claims that he is asthmatic and has chronic ulcers. The prosecution has however submitted an affidavit from a Lesotho Correctional Service nurse, Chief Officer Putsoane, who says Phusumane is “regularly and constantly being provided with the necessary medication to treat both conditions as and when such medication is required”.

Lance Sergeant Mohoang says although Mochesane denies shooting Mutungamiri he “does not even attempt to vary or contradict this but merely resorts to a bare denial which is devoid of any truth”.

He also insists that Mochesane is likely to abscond because he only handed himself to the police 18 months after the alleged crime.
“This is conduct typical of a person who wants to evade justice at all costs.”

Mochesane further argues that his stay in prison will affect his ability to prepare his defence. Lance Sergeant Mohoang however says this is not true because “his lawyer is at liberty to consult him on a daily basis”.

Mochesane tells the court that he should be granted bail because he has to look after his wife who suffers from hypertension.
He says he is emotionally attached to his wife and children. But Lance Sergeant Mohoang says that is not enough to persuade the court to grant him bail.

“All men are emotionally attached to their spouses and children. He does not even attempt to allege that he has any medical expertise to deal with his wife’s hypertension problem,” he said.

Staff Reporter

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