Three top lawyers lose judge’s case

Three top lawyers lose judge’s case

MASERU – THREE top lawyers have lost a bid to challenge Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s recommendation to the King to appoint Justice ’Maseshophe Hlajoane as Acting President of the Court of Appeal. A coram of five judges upheld an appeal by Justice Hlajoane, Thabane, Law Minister Lebohang Hlaele, Justice Minister Mokhele Moletsane and the Attorney General Advocate Haae Phoofolo KC.

The senior lawyers who challenged Justice Hlajoane’s appointment were Advocates Karabo Mohau KC, Zwelakhe Mda KC and Attorney Qhalehang Letsika.
The trio did not attend court on Friday during arguments.

The appellants’ lawyer Advocate Koili Ndebele told the court that he tried to call him several times but did not succeed.
He said Attorney Letsika told him that he was not going to court.

Advocate Monaheng Rasekoai said the case was of great national interest therefore the three lawyers should have filed abandonment of judgment application within seven days.
“The respondents did not file heads of arguments,” he said.

He said there are ethical conducts that they should have followed or maybe to come to court and explain themselves legally.
Regardless of their absence, the arguments continued and Advocate Rasekoai addressing the panel, told the court that the three lawyers lacked locus standi.
He submitted that the appeal be held.

The very same day, judgment was issued and the appeal succeeded with no order as to costs of the appeal.
In March, High Court judge Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi had ruled that Justice Hlajoane should not assume office as acting president of the Court of Appeal after her appointment to that office a week earlier.

This followed a constitutional challenge by the three prominent lawyers who argued that the appointment of Justice Hlajoane violated the constitution because she was appointed when the government had already appointed a South African judge, Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, to the same position.

Senate Sekotlo

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