Judge pulls out of Kamoli case

Judge pulls out of Kamoli case

MASERU – A High Court judge has pulled out of Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli’s bail hearing. Justice Molefi Makara said this was because he has recused himself from previous cases involving the army and soldiers. Lt Gen Kamoli is applying for bail after he was charged and detained for 14 counts of attempted murder and one of murder. The general has been in detention since October 14.

He filed his heads of argument yesterday just before Justice Makara recused himself. The matter has now been allocated Justice Teboho Moiloa who is likely to hear what is perhaps the most anticipated application on Friday. Justice Makara has a history with military cases.

In 2015 Lt Gen Kamoli asked Justice Makara to step down from a case in which 22 detained soldiers wanted him jailed for contempt of court after he ignored the judge’s order to release them.

At that time Lt Gen Kamoli said he was apprehensive that the judge might be biased because he had expressed annoyance over some criticism directed at him on local radio stations over his initial ruling.  A month earlier Justice Makara had courted public ire after he ruled that Lt Gen Kamoli had not been in contempt of court when he refused to release the soldiers from the Maseru Maximum Security Prison.
After Lt Gen Kamoli’s complaints Justice Makara agreed to recuse himself.

By yesterday the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had not filed his opposing papers to Lt Gen Kamoli’s application.
The DPP only filed a notice of intention to oppose on October 20, after which it had seven days to file its opposing papers.
In the heads of argument Lt Gen Kamoli’s lawyers complained about the DPP’s delays.

“It is clear that the crown has towards two weeks period not filing the opposing papers,” they said.
“The crown ought to have served opposing papers by Friday the 27th October which was a period of seven (7) calendar days from the time that they were served.”

“The crown is very lackadaisical in dealing with this matter though bail proceedings are by their nature urgent.”
Lt Gen Kamoli wants to be released on a M1 000-bail as well as condition that he reports to the police head office on remand days and does not interfere with witnesses.

He says he is open to the court putting other conditions it might find necessary. Perhaps anticipating a strong pushback from the DPP, Lt Gen Kamoli’s lawyers had warned that the former commander might subpoena Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to testify on his behalf in his bail application.

Public Service Minister Thesele ’Maseribane, former police commissioner Khothatso Tšooana and former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Molobeli Soulo, were also named as potential witnesses the general might want to cross-examine.

Staff Reporter

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