Lawyers guilty of double standards

Lawyers guilty of double standards

It has come as a welcome surprise that at last, the four senior lawyers relentlessly engaged in the pursuit to prevent Prof Kananelo Mosito from being sworn in have had a moment of deep introspection.  We read in the papers that they have written a letter to the Law Society of Lesotho, their mother body, requesting them to intervene in what they describe as undue attacks on the Chief Justice by the Hon Minister of Law and Constitutional Affairs.
The appallingly offensive tone of the letter seems to suggest that its writers are not necessarily expecting a response; let alone a favourable one.

Rather the letter appears designed to send a chilling message to the recipients that this is just a formality of sorts. The writers could not care less how they are interpreted; it’s enough for them to send their message across however crude it may sound. And very crude it is.
The four senior lawyers do not stop there. Typical of their fighting style, which is gradually getting stale, they launch a scathing attack on the Minister of Law and Constitutional Affairs for comments he is said to have made on the day when we handed our petition to him.

They make disturbingly disparaging remarks about him describing his comments as “very low, unfair, cheap, and lacking in civility.”
Please allow us a brief moment to expose the hypocrisy of this attempt exclusively aimed at portraying the minister as biased in his condemnation of the Chief Justice’s alleged misconduct.

Do not be fooled by this latest act into thinking that the four lawyers have had some sort of reawakening and now see the usefulness of their mother body, the Law Society. The joke is on the maker here.

All along the four senior lawyers never paid any scant attention to the possibility that a day would dawn upon them when they would find themselves having to seek the intervention of the Law Society.

So dismissive were they of their mother body that they had no answer to the question posed by one of the judges in their recent constitutional challenge against Prof. Mosito wherein they were asked if they had ever bothered to discuss the issue of Mosito with the Law Society.
Their response was that they did not because they already knew that the Law Society had taken sides in favour with the applicant (Mosito in this case) against them. What sheer display of contempt for your mother body?

Has the law society changed its stance on Mosito now that today they are finally giving it the respect it deserves? Or is this an act of desperation that has obliterated their haughtiness now that they grudgingly acknowledge the law society as being potentially helpful to their cause?
The existence of the Law Society is provided for in our constitution. One does not seek its intervention only when its suits him only to dismiss it when he feels he can achieve his objectives by himself.

Secondly it boggles the mind how the four lawyers drape their legal girths with the mantle of honour to interpret not only the minister’s remarks (they were not present on the day the petition was handed over to the minister) but also ascribe to his words the labels they so freely dispense with.
Reading the disparaging remarks they make against the minister, we feel obliged to get involved since this attack is indirectly aimed at us. The minister was our guest. He did not rock up there uninvited.

The remarks which the four lawyers ascribe to him are deeply offensive especially seen in the light of the positions held by them in the legal fraternity. Three of them hold the title of King’s Counsel and one is an attorney. These are highly esteemed positions indeed.
The minister’s questioning of the Chief Justice’s commitment to her duties stemmed from the revelations of unbecoming conduct which had become public consumption long before we petitioned the PM to swear in Justice Mosito.

The leaked internal audit draft report revealed a seemingly corrupt deal in which one of the judges, third from the bottom in the hierarchy of the judiciary, entered into a controversial lease agreement through his wife to offer accommodation amounting to M27 000 to the Chief Justice.
This was done without following proper procurement procedures. The leaked audit report confirmed the same; so did the out-going Acting Registrar of the High Court.

Another one of the minister’s comments, which was also reflected in the petition, related to the lawyers’ relationship with the Chief Justice.
Two of them, Advocate Motiea Teele and Attorney Qhalehang Letsika were engaged by the Chief Justice as her legal advisors. Since when did the Chief Justice need private lawyers to advise her as the government already has the Attorney General to do this job for her?

Under what circumstances were these lawyers engaged and who authorised this contract? The government must investigate how this contract came about and hold whoever authorised it to account.

Additionally, why did the Chief Justice engage lawyers who are fighting against a fellow judge who is supposed to be receiving protection from her to work with her as her private legal advisors?

How on earth would Prof. Mosito expect to get any justice when the head of the judiciary, the Chief Justice, hires the lawyers who are fighting to have him removed as her legal advisors?

Prof. Mosito is not a fool; neither are we. There was clearly a concerted effort here by the Chief Justice, some politicians, the Attorney General, the former DPP and these four lawyers to do everything in their power to make sure that Prof. Mosito is not sworn in.

Lately we have reason to believe that some of the judges have also joined the bandwagon. They do not want to see Justice Mosito anywhere near them.
Late last year we discovered that they approached the acting Prime Minister then to inform him that they had reached “a decision” not to swear Mosito as Court of Appeal president because there was an impending constitutional case against him.

This “decision” was reached despite the absence of any court order stopping the swearing in from going ahead. To date there is still no such court order.

Finally how do you rate the importance of judges? How do you rate the importance of one judge against another? Perhaps this is a question that the four lawyers may give an answer to in the light of the overwhelming support they give to the Chief Justice.

What is so special about the personal integrity of the Chief Justice that is not equally special about Justice Mosito? How do these senior lawyers find it so easy to ask the Law Society to protect the Chief Justice yet feel so constrained to do the same when it comes to Justice Mosito?

Doesn’t Justice Mosito occupy an equally senior position – if not higher – in the judicial value chain as the Chief Justice? Is this not a case of double standards where these senior lawyers want to paint a misleading picture that Justice Mosito is vile and does not deserve the position to which he has been appointed?

Our position substantially differs from that of the four senior lawyers in that we do not single out any judge for special treatment; neither do we single out any judge for castigation.

In our eyes all judges are worthy of respect. No judge deserves to be hunted like wild prey. If it was Justice Mosito causing this kind of pain on his fellow judges we would come down hard on him like a ton of bricks. He knows that too. It’s not a joke.

Thulo Hoeeane

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