Judge rebukes lawyers

Judge rebukes lawyers

MASERU – A Namibian judge sitting in Lesotho’s Court of Appeal has criticised local lawyers for behaving like politicians in the court.
Justice Petrus Damaseb made the remarks on Monday as he reacted to a lawyer representing the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Attorney KD Mabudu, who said he was not ready to continue with the case.
Attorney Mabudu told the court that he had not finalised his heads of argument.
Justice Damaseb, in a voice that demonstrated annoyance, said Lesotho lawyers’ conduct bear a resemblance to that of politicians.

“Politicians will say something today but tomorrow say a different story altogether,” Justice Damaseb said.
He said a court order issued last Friday declared that the matter should be heard on Monday in the Court of Appeal but now the lawyer was acting as if he was not aware of the order.
The order, issued by the High Court judge Justice Semapo Peete, said parties were not to take any steps or any decisions that may be pre-emptive of the decision of the full Court of Appeal due to sit on Monday July 22.
This is the case in which four expelled executive members of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC), Professor Nqosa Mahao, Montoeli Masoetsa, Sam Rapapa and ’Matebatso Doti are challenging Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s move to suspend the Court of Appeal President Justice Kananelo Mosito.

In the case they also seek the Acting Chief Justice ’Maseforo Mahase to be stopped from acting in concert with Thabane in the plan to have Justice Mosito suspended.
Attorney Mabudu told the court that he had not gone through the court order and therefore was not ready to continue with the case.
He told Justice Damaseb, who is the deputy chief justice of Namibia, that he did not have time to look through his papers over the weekend.
“I arrived in the country last Sunday but I did not sleep during the night,” Justice Damaseb responded.
“From the time we arrived here, we spent the entire night going through all the papers that we would be dealing with this week.”

“How come you say you did not have time to go through the order?”
Justice Damaseb reiterated that lawyers act like politicians yet their job is to help in the administration of justice.
He said he is concerned that most of the cases before the court related to ABC.
He pleaded with the lawyers to tell their clients that the courts cannot solve their issues. Instead, he said, the lawyers should tell their clients that their issues can be solved by the party.
Justice Damaseb said politicians should stop running to the courts whenever there are misunderstandings within their parties.
He said there are cases which need the serious attention of judges and not political cases which can be solved by the parties on their own.

However, Justice Damaseb told Attorney Mabudu that since the court has ordered the case be heard on Monday there was no way it will be postponed.
The parties settled out of court on the same day and Thabane withdrew the suspension letter he had sent to Justice Mosito.

Itumeleng Khoete

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