Khetheng family fumes over postponements

Khetheng family fumes over postponements

MASERU-THE family of Constable Mokalekale Khetheng is fuming after the trial was postponed for the fifth time on Monday.
Constable Khetheng’s father, Thabo Khetheng, told thepost this week that the postponement appeared to be a deliberate ploy by the defence team to run down the judge’s term.

The case was postponed on Monday because the defence lawyer, Advocate Zwelakhe Mda KC, was said to be sick, a decision that incensed Khetheng’s family.
Khetheng said he feared the judges’ contract will lapse forcing the murder suspects to apply for release because the matter would have taken too long to be prosecuted.

The government engaged foreign judges to specifically hear the high profile cases, including Khetheng’s, on contracts that are expected to expire in April next year.
It is not clear if the government will seek to extend the contracts in the event they lapse.

Khetheng’s murder suspects have been languishing in remand prison for the past two years.
However, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) deputy leader, Tšeliso Mokhosi, who has also been charged with the murder, is out on bail. 
Khetheng told thepost that it has been hard for the family to see the case being postponed on numerous occasions.

“Now the problem is of lawyers who are deliberately blocking the case from proceeding,” he said.
“They are delaying the justice process and we are not happy,” Khetheng said.

He said their suspicion was that the defence lawyers were “scared of the case that they might lose it”.
Justice Charles Hungwe, a Zimbabwean judge is hearing the case while the prosecutor is Shaun Abrahams from South Africa.
Khetheng said reports that the lawyers were sick “were just tricks” to stall the case.

It is also the family’s suspicion that the defendants want the foreign judge’s contract to lapse before case is completed.
Being the biological father of the deceased, Khetheng said he will not joke around with the matter.

He said the Khetheng family had since met to discuss the way forward.
“We will engage the TRC (Transformation Resource Centre), the DPE (Development for Peace Education) and LCN (Lesotho Council for NGOs) to help,” he said.
He said they will also visit the Law Society to complain about the lawyers’ “delaying tactics”.

Khetheng said the postponements were infringing on their human rights as they pursue justice for their slain son.
He said it is embarrassing that lawyers who should uphold the law were deliberately holding back the wheels of justice.

Their son’s case, he said, had attracted a lot of attention from the international media.
Last week the prosecution told the court that Mokhosi was no longer one of the suspects in Khetheng’s murder trial.

It said instead the former defence minister will be a state witness and will testify against those charged with the murder.
Mokhosi was accused of killing Constable Khetheng together with Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu, Inspector Mabitle Matona, Haleokoe Taasoane and Superintendent Mothibeli Mofolo.

The four police officers, who all deny the charges, are still in remand prison.
Former police commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa, who is also wanted in connection with the case, fled into exile in 2017.

Nkheli Liphoto

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