Judge probes feud

Judge probes feud

MASERU – HIGH Court judge Justice ’Maseforo Mahase has been tasked with investigating a feud between a magistrate and some police officers who are accused of torturing suspects in Thaba-Tseka.
The High Court had to intervene after a magistrate refused to preside over a criminal case when she learnt that some suspects had been tortured last month.

There are only two magistrates in Thaba-Tseka.
When she refused to hear the case, her colleague was on leave.
Chief Magistrate ’Matankiso Nthunya had to assign another magistrate from Maseru to go to Thaba-Tseka to hear the case, according to a source.
But this did not sit well with the magistrate who refused to preside over the case.

There was commotion at the district magistracy that prompted Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara to send a judge to investigate.
This caused a fracas in the magistracy as others felt that the suspects should be released while others said their prosecution should continue.
“Things are falling apart at the Thaba-Tseka magistrate’s court which has forced the High Court to mediate in the administration of justice in the district,” the source said.

“Chief Magistrate Nthunya tried to mediate but failed,” he said.
Sources told thepost that some police officers in the district went out on a raid and arrested some gunmen in the district.
The men were allegedly severely beaten up by the police.

And when they were brought before the court, the magistrate in charge at that time refused to preside over their case saying it was highly improbable for her to preside over the case of the people who had been tortured.
The magistrate indicated that her role is to protect the rights of the people.

Those gunmen were only prosecuted by the magistrate from Maseru.
The Acting Registrar of the High Court and Court of Appeal, Pontšo Phafoli, confirmed that they received information that things were not well at the Thaba-Tseka Magistrate’s Court.

She said they had since assigned a team to investigate what might be the problem in the district.
Phafoli said they have not yet received any report as to what really happened.
She said they will decide what to do when the investigations have been completed.
She could not answer any further questions pending finalisation of the report.

Majara Molupe

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