Judge refuses to hear case

Judge refuses to hear case

MASERU – ACTING Chief Justice ’Maseforo Mahase yesterday sensationally refused to deliver judgment in a case involving two All Basotho Convention (ABC) factions claiming she had been insulted by protesters.
Justice Mahase told a packed courtroom that she would not deliver the judgment because she was yet to seek legal advice on how to handle the matter.
The case was postponed to June 14.

The case involves three ABC MPs who filed an urgent application in the High Court seeking nullification of the party’s National Executive Committee election results in early February.
The three MPs, Keketso Sello, Habofanoe Lehana and Mohapinyane Mohapi warned that there would be a bloodbath if their case was not heard on an urgent basis.
The matter has since been postponed four times.

A group of Basotho who called themselves Concerned Citizens marched to Justice Mahase’s offices last Friday complaining about what they said were inordinate delays in dealing with court cases.
Justice Mahase claimed the protesters had insulted her in the letter they sent her.
She said this was the first time that she had seen lawyers ganging up with ordinary people to protest against a judge.
Justice Mahase added that the very act of writing a letter directly to a judge was a violation of the law.
She said legally, the letter should have been written to the Registrar of the High Court who would in turn take it to the Chief Justice.

So that was an offence, Justice Mahase argued.
She said protesters had violated the law adding she had been insulted in the letter.
“So I will not go on with the judgments because I have been insulted,” Justice Mahase told the court.
She said she was also human and will seek legal advice on the matter.
She said she could also fall ill, apparently responding to the respondents’ accusations at their rallies that she was faking illness to avoid delivering judgment.

“I could also seek legal advice in cases like this one,” Justice Mahase said.
Justice Mahase said the protesters appeared to have been only interested in the ABC case although they had indicated they were concerned with the delays in the courts.
She said she was concerned that the protesters were only picking the ABC case “as if it is the only case that has been delayed”.
Justice Mahase said there were still cases some dating as far back as 2014 that had not yet been dealt with. She said she wondered why the ABC case was receiving so much attention as if it was the only case that had been delayed.
The petition was received by High Court Registrar Pontšo Phafoli on behalf of Justice Mahase.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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