Judge Tshosa gets suspended sentence
by Mpho Keleboge
Lobatse High Court Judge, Onkemetse Tshosa, has been sentenced to 18 months, wholly suspended, and to a fine of P1 000.
Outgoing Broadhurst Regional Magistrate, Barnabas Nyamadzabo, convicted Tshosa on two charges of failure to provide alcohol test and for assaulting a police officer during interrogation at Molepolole Police Station in May 2009.
The other charge of driving under the influence of alcohol was dismissed by the court two weeks ago as the state had failed to provide sufficient evidence.
The charges stem from an incident in which Tshosa’s vehicle collided with another along the Gaborone-Molepolole road in May 2009.
The magistrate found that the state had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt, adding that the state had provided sufficient evidence that Tshosa had failed to give a breath specimen as evidenced by his delaying tactics “to run away from being tested”.
He said the evidence during cross examination and evidence in chief by police officers outweigh that of Tshosa, which resulted in Nyamadzabo ruling that Tshosa fabricated a case against the police.
The Magistrate said that Tshosa was not telling the truth when he said the police had fabricated charges against him as there was sufficient evidence that reflected that he is the one who delayed and refused to be tested.
“There is enough evidence because all the witnesses told this court that Tshosa had used vulgar language, was violent and uncooperative with the police when they tried to take him for testing,” Nyamadzabo said, adding that Tshosa delayed by trying to call his wife while, in fact, knowing that he was trying to avoid being tested.
He then cited a number of cases and stated that for a charge of assault there is a minimum charge of not exceeding five years in jail if convicted. When sentencing, the magistrate said he had taken into account that Tshosa is a first offender with no previous convictions.
He also noted that Tshosa is a professional judge and sending him to jail would not benefit society, adding that Tshosa had been cooperative throughout the court proceedings and had also not benefitted anything from the offence.
The defence lawyer, however, said that they intend to appeal against both the conviction and sentence as the magistrate had misdirected himself and disregarded important evidence, which could have acquitted his client.
He cited evidence, which allegedly went missing from the Molepolole Police Records.
The state was represented by Wasson Manchwe while Tshosa was represented by Batlhalefi Moeletsi and Omphemetse Motumesi.