Judge’s appointment faces legal challenge

Judge’s appointment faces legal challenge

MASERU-AN attorney who is representing soldiers who are facing triple murder charges says he will challenge in the Constitutional Court the appointment of a Zimbabwean judge to hear the matter.
Attorney Qhalehang Letsika told Justice Charles Hungwe that he will challenge his appointment in the highest court.
Letsika did not provide any reasons for the decision but merely said his clients had strong feelings against his appointment on the Lesotho bench.

Eight soldiers were arrested in August 2017 in connection with the murder of three individuals. The bodies of the three were later thrown into Mohale Dam.
The soldiers were later charged with three counts of murder and abduction.
They are charged with abducting and murdering Khothatso Makibinyane, a menial labourer at a construction site in South Africa, his uncle Paseka Pakela and Lekhoele Noko.

All of them were working at a construction site in South Africa.
Trouble for them began after they were suspected of having had a hand in the fatal shooting of a soldier at the Maseru Bridge in May 2017.
Another soldier was injured in the shoot-out.

The soldiers, who were in plain clothes, had approached a group of young men and wanted to search them after they suspected that they were carrying unlicensed firearms.
Makibinyane and his uncle Pakela were members of a notorious famo music gang called Phula-Bobete (Valley of boiled blood).

As the soldiers tried to disarm the gangsters, a gun-fight ensued.
It is believed members of the famo group thought the soldiers were members of a rival gang.
Although Makibinyane and Pakela were part of the gang, there was no evidence that they took an active part in fighting the soldiers.

So, the police later released them without pressing any charges.
But after they were released the soldiers pounced on them and abducted them.
Their bodies were later recovered by South African divers in the Mohale Dam last year.
Justice Hungwe was sworn in on Tuesday by the Acting Chief Justice ’Maseforo Mahase as a judge.

He began his duty yesterday with the soldiers’ case but the defence challenged his appointment.
Justice Mahase said there are four other judges who are coming to Lesotho to help deal with the backlog of other criminal cases.
She said the High Court has about 13 judges and this will see five more judges being added to the bench to deal with the backlog of cases.

Staff Reporter

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