Judge grants bail to ’Maesaiah

Judge grants bail to ’Maesaiah

MASERU-HIGH Court judge Justice Thamsanqa Nomncongo says ’Maesaiah Thabane should not be punished merely on the basis of hearsay.

Justice Nomncongo said this while granting M10 000 bail to ’Maesaiah who had been languishing in the Maseru Female Correctional Centre since June 5.

The judge ordered her to report to the police every two weeks and every time she has to go out of the country.
She was also ordered to attend remands and not to interfere with crown witnesses.

“It would be unfair for the court not to grant (’Maesaiah) bail if we would believe hearsays that were presented before me,” Justice Nomncongo said.
“Nobody could make wild statements like that without evidence and say I should not grant the petitioner bail.”

The judge delivered blistering criticism of the affidavits filed by witnesses opposing ’Maesaiah’s bid for bail.
Justice Nomncongo said ’Maesaiah could not be punished for crimes that the crown was not even sure that she committed.

“The respondents (Lipolelo’s friends and relatives), from where I stand, who opposed the bail application, only wanted to punish the petitioner (’Maesaiah) before the trial commences,” Justice Nomncongo said.
“Bail application is not a trial,” he said, adding that “everyone is entitled to bail”.

“Nobody has to be punished for a crime without evidence,” he said.
The judge said the charge sheet gave the impression that ’Maesaiah pulled the trigger in killing Lipolelo Thabane but no such evidence had been presented in court.

“From the Deputy Commissioner of Police’s affidavit, there is nowhere he says she is the one who pulled the trigger,” Justice Nomncongo said.
He said all what was said in Deputy Commissioner Mokete’s affidavit was hearsay without evidence and “so the respondents cannot expect the court to believe hearsays”.

Justice Nomncongo said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) never opposed ’Maesaiah’s bail application even when she had a chance to do that right from the beginning of the court case.

He said the DPP, Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane, chose not to oppose ’Maesaiah’s earlier bail application but now she does so hiding behind DCP Mokete’s affidavit.
The judge said as for Thato Sibolla’s affidavit, “it’s unclear to the court what really transpired”.

“Sibolla only talks of her being a friend to Lipolelo but never explains what happened during the day of shooting as she was there,” he said.
The judge also trashed ’Makarabo Mojakhomo’s affidavit saying she used to transport money to assassinators but failed to show how her evidence could convince the court to deny ’Maesaiah bail.

He said it would therefore be unfair to deny bail to ’Maesaiah on the basis of hearsay.
The judge said during the past four months that ’Maesaiah was out after Acting Chief Justice ’Maseforo Mahase granted her bail, she did not threaten anybody but abided by the conditions set to her.

“Why would she do it now?” he said.
“Let’s not punish somebody without reason because of our personal interests,” he said.

’Maesaiah is facing a murder charge after she allegedly hired gunmen to kill Thomas Thabane’s estranged wife, Lipolelo Thabane, in June 2017.

She is also facing an attempted murder charge after the gunmen shot and seriously injured Thato Sibolla who was with Lipolelo on the day of the shooting.

Itumeleng Khoete

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