Blow for Kamoli

Blow for Kamoli

MASERU – LIEUTENANT General Tlali Kamoli could be set for a long stay in remand prison after High Court judge, Justice Teboho Moiloa, threw out his appeal for bail on Tuesday. The ruling could probably have slammed the doors shut on the former army boss’ prospects for release on bail.
Lt Gen Kamoli’s lawyer, Advocate Letuka Molati, said this is because the High Court’s decision in bail applications is final.
“He is not appealing,” Molati said.

“The procedure in Lesotho does not provide for an appeal against refusal of bail by the High Court,” he said.
“We are still studying the judgment. We are yet to decide the way forward.”
Lt Gen Kamoli is facing 14 charges of attempted murder for allegedly bombing the houses of former police commissioner, Khotatso Tšooana, and Thabane’s then girlfriend Liabiloe Ramoholi’s house.

He is also accused of bombing a house belonging to Liabiloe’s neighbor in January 2014.
The 14 charges are counted according to the number of people the crown says were in the houses when they were bombed.
Lt Gen Kamoli also faces a murder charge over the killing of Sub Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko when the army under his command attacked the police headquarters on August 30, 2014.

Justice Moiloa ruled that Lt Gen Kamoli could not be granted bail because he had failed to provide the court with exceptional circumstances warranting his release from prison.
The judge agreed with the crown counsel Advocate Haae Phoofolo KC’s arguments that Lt Gen Kamoli should have told the court about any exceptional circumstances warranting his granting of bail.

Phoofolo said because of the non-existence of any exceptional circumstances the bail should not be granted.
“There are no exceptional circumstances to make the court feel persuaded to grant bail,” Phoofolo said.
He said it is not the crown that has “the onus to satisfy the court that such exceptional circumstances exist”.
“Court must exercise special or extra care so that there is no prejudice,” he said, adding that “exceptional circumstances include exceptional illnesses”.
Justice Moiloa said Lt Gen Kamoli should have attached proof from a medical doctor certifying that he has an illness that would be exacerbated by his stay in prison.

The judge did not address Molati’s arguments that Lt Gen Kamoli should be granted bail because he is not a flight risk.
Molati had argued that Lt Gen Kamoli had enough time to run away after two senior police officers of the ranks of Superintendent and Assistant Commissioner told him to report to the police with an expectation of being charged with serious crimes.
“It was on Monday when the police told him to (come) to them and even telling him that he was likely to be charged with serious offences,” Molati had said. “He told them that he was far away and could not come on that day but would come on Wednesday, which he did in the company of his lawyer,” he said.

“He could have run away because he had a chance to do so but he did not do that, simply because he wants to stand trial and clear his name,” he said.
Molati said there are no facts that may persuade Lt Gen Kamoli to abscond.
Talking about the charge of attempting to murder Tšooana, Molati said this is a trumped up charge.
“The fact is Tšooana was not inside the house. The charge of attempted murder therefore should fall and perhaps replaced by that of malicious damage to property,” he said.

“There is no likelihood that this man will be convicted of attempting to murder Tšooana.”
About the charge of killing Ramahloko, Molati argued that Kamoli did not even know of the existence of Ramahloko and therefore “could not have conspired to kill him”.

“There is no way Kamoli as the commander could have conspired with low ranking soldiers to go and kill a person he did not even know,” Molati said.
He said keeping Kamoli in custody is not in the interest of justice because he will be languishing there for months, even years before his case is heard.
On the crown’s suggestion that Kamoli’s release will destabilise security in the country, Molati said “there is no way Kamoli can do that alone, he is not the Lesotho Defence Force”.

“Your petitioner is just an ordinary Mosotho man, a farmer who lives between Ha-Matala in Maseru and Bobete”.
Kamoli was arrested on October 11.

Staff Reporter

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