Big blow for Metsing, Mochoboroane

Big blow for Metsing, Mochoboroane

MASERU-Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane this week ordered two political leaders who are facing treason charges to appear before a judge they were trying to dodge.
Mothetjoa Metsing, leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), and the Movement for Economic Change (MEC)’s Selibe Mochoboroane will now have to appear before Justice Onkemetse Tshosa.

Justice Sakoane found that the duo, instead of raising all their objections with regards to their joinder in the charges faced by former army boss Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and others before Justice Tshosa, drew a separate application and filed it in court so that it appeared before a different judge.
Delivering judgment on Tuesday, Justice Sakoane said it is “proper and convenient for the applicants to raise all manner of objections before the trial judge”.

“It would not be right for me, sitting as a non-trial judge, to pronounce on one or all of the issues” arising out of the decisions of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to join the two in the case.”
“The proper thing to do is to refer this application to the trial judge so that the applicants can ventilate their objections in relation to the indictment in respect of which the (DPP) seeks to have them joined,” Justice Sakoane said.

Metsing and Mochoboroane are standing trial before Justice Tshosa after the DPP joined them as co-accused with Lt Gen Kamoli and others last year.
They were challenging the DPP’s decision to join them in the indictment. They are facing treason, murder and attempted murder charges.
Last year, Metsing and Mochoboroane lost a Constitutional Court case in which they tried to block the DPP from charging them.

They argued the government and opposition political party leaders had signed a deal that guaranteed non-prosecution for leaders who had skipped the country until after the national reforms were completed.
The Constitutional Court ruled that the clause was unconstitutional. The police then obtained a warrant of arrest so that they could appear before Justice Tshosa for trial.

The DPP had indicated that she would request that Metsing and Mochoboroane be remanded in custody where they would apply for bail pending trial.

Fearing that their liberty was at stake, the two expressed their intent to apply for a permanent stay of prosecution arguing that the DPP had delayed to prosecute them since 2014 when they allegedly committed the crimes.
Their argument is that the decision to prosecute them now after years of dillydallying is “politically convenient for the authorities” and is a violation of their rights.

Staff Reporter

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