Vaseline story  nonsense, says lawyer

Vaseline story nonsense, says lawyer

MASERU-DOUBLE murder accused Lehlohonolo Scott has disputed the police’s claim that he escaped from prison by smearing himself with Vaseline and then sliding out through the burglar bars on his cell window.
Scott escaped from the Maseru Central Prison in October 2012.

Embarrassed prison authorities said they were not sure how he escaped but speculated that he had greased himself with Vaseline and squeezed out through the burglar bars. The police later made a similar claim.
Eight prison warders were later suspended in the fallout that ensued. But during trial on Tuesday, Scott’s lawyer Advocate Thulo Hoeane said it is not correct to use the word “escape” to describe what happened.
He said instead three men who had covered their faces unlocked his cell door and took him out by force. Advocate Hoeane explained before Justice Teboho Moiloa that the night his client left, he never tampered with anything in his cell.

“On the night Scott left the prison, three men entered his cell all dressed in black, their faces covered with only eyes being seen,” Advocate Hoeane said.
“Scott heard the key opening his cell at midnight and three men came in, over-powered him and injected him with a substance unknown to him.”

“The last thing he recalled hearing from that incident was when the door closed and that was when he passed out.”
Advocate Hoeane made the claims while cross-examining the prosecution witness, Detective Lance Sergeant Seeko, during Scott’s trial on the charge of escaping from prison.
Detective Lance Sergeant Seeko however said two notes found in his cell showed that Scott had planned his escape. He said there were two additional notes in two Bibles found in the cell.

He said when he arrived at the prison around 9am there were already officers gathered outside Scott’s cell.
He said he was baffled because security at the prison is so tight that if one escapes from their cell they are likely to be caught in the prison yard. Scott’s cell, he said, was on the new block which is the maximum security section.
“When I approached the cell door it was still locked and nothing tampered with the lock or the door,” he said.
He explained that when he entered the cell he noticed that the window was opened.
Detective Lance Sergeant Seeko indicted he noticed that there was no way someone could fit through the burglar bars on the tiny window.

“The window, roofing and ceiling were in good place which showed that nobody had tampered with them, but to my surprise, the barriers were very greasy,” he said.
He said as he checked the room, he noticed a green bench chair and bed placed below the opened window. The bed had been turned upside down, with the blankets and the mattress tossed to the other side.
The detective said he also noticed an opened Vaseline container on the floor.

He said on top of the mattress were two Bibles. The notes, he said, indicated that one of the Bibles should be handed to one Roky Masinga and the other to Antony Lopez.
“I then entered the toilet cell and found other two letters written: ‘all my belongings should be handed to my brother if needed, I am Joseph Scott’ and the other saying ‘should be given if not being Rethabile Scott, my brother from outside’,” Seeko said.

Seeko further explained that he climbed on the roof where he saw fingerprints but had problems collecting them because they were greasy.
“I tried to apply our scientific systematic way of using the powder to lift finger prints but since it was very greasy, I failed to do so,” he said.
Correctional Service officer Mothepu Lesaoana told the court that he made sure that he locked up Scott the night he escaped from prison.

He said it was not true that Scott escaped from the prison through the window.
He said the cell window burglars are so small that Scott could not fit between them.
Lesaoana indicated that the only way he could have left that cell was through the door.
“I think I would agree with him when he said he was taken out by other men because on his own it could be impossible to go out,” he said.

He said the new block where high profile prisoners are being kept is highly secured.
“There are Lesotho Defence Force members who are always present to enforce the security. Some prison officers are located near the gate so I think if Scott managed to leave it was by the help of the night watchman,” he said.
He further explained that the prisoners are checked hourly by the supervisors who always go around to make sure that the guards working.

“They could have seen or heard when the door was opened as their offices are next to the new block,” he said.
Scott was first arrested in June 2012. He escaped in October of the same year and spent three years in South Africa. He was arrested at a church in Durban where he was playing in a band. He was brought back to Maseru in October 2015 after he failed to block his extradition.

He is accused of the grisly murders of Koalabata boys Moholobela Seetsa and Kamohelo Mohata in 2012.

Itumeleng Khoete

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