Hope for woman on death row

Hope for woman on death row

MASERU – A woman who has been on death row for the past five years could avoid the noose after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) agreed that her sentence should be reduced to 25 years.
This is after it was discovered that the record of her trial was too damaged to be used in her appeal.

The DPP and the defence have agreed that since the record of ‘Makhotso Molise’s trial cannot be used her case at the Court of Appeal should be based on “a stated case”, a procedure by which a court or tribunal can ask another court for its opinion on a point of law.
In this case the legal teams are asking the Court of Appeal’s opinion on the sentencing.

Crown counsel, Advocate Tsebiso Fuma, agreed with the defence lawyer Advocate Khosi Lesutu that “the death sentence should be replaced with a prison term of 25 years”.
On Monday, the two lawyers appeared in the Court of Appeal praying that the five years that ’Makhotso Molise had already spent in prison before conviction and sentencing should be deducted from the proposed 25 years. They also said two more years should be slashed from the sentence to compensate Molise for the prosecution’s delay.

’Makhotso Molise, 52, was convicted in 2014 for the murder of ’Manthakoana Mahase in 2009.
Mahase is the Acting Chief Justice ’Maseforo Mahase’s mother-in-law.
Molise was convicted together with her son Khotso Molise and their victim’s nanny ’Mantoa Mokoaleli.
The trio was in remand prison for five years until they were sentenced in 2014.
Khotso Molise, who was only 18 at time of the murder, was sentenced to 20 years.
Mokoaleli, who was 26, was jailed for 25 years.

They were also convicted of robbery for stealing Mahase’s things after killing her. For the robbery ’Makhotso was sentenced to 15 years, her son 10 and Mokoaleli 15. The lawyers asked the Court of Appeal to cut ’Makhotso’s term to 10 years and knock off two years from that of her son and Mokoaleli.
They want both the murder and robbery convictions to run concurrently.
“The transcription of the record is impracticable because the appeal was noted during the time when the High Court was migrating from recording by way of tapes to that of digital recording,” Advocate Lesutu said in court papers.

“The tape machines are no longer usable”.
“It has therefore been agreed by the Director of Public Prosecutions and Appellant’s (’Makhotso Molise) counsel to appeal by way of a stated case.”
Court of Appeal president, Justice Kananelo Mosito is expected to deliver judgement on November 1.

Itumeleng Khoete


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