Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Accused magistrate still presiding over court cases

Gaborone Village Magistrate, Mareledi Dipate, who is facing charges of causing death by dangerous driving, is still hearing court cases despite his ongoing case. Dipate is facing charges of allegedly killing a pedestrian through dangerous driving in Gaborone two years ago.

Early this year the Lobatse High Court Registrar and Master, Godfrey Nthomiwa, promised that as soon as trial dates have been set, the Judiciary Commission would sit to decide whether or not he could continue with his job of trying other suspects, including those facing charges similar to his.

When told about this, Nthomiwa was surprised that Dipate was still in office and promised to investigate the matter.

Over the past weeks, The Sunday Standard has been trying to contact him but was always told that he was attending meetings or on another line, promising that he would call back which he never did.

Sources say that it was difficult to find a magistrate willing to prosecute Dipate and, in the end, a newly employed foreign magistrate in Francistown agreed to preside over the case but the case was postponed.

There is a strong feeling by those in the legal fraternity that Dipate should not be serving as a magistrate and presiding over cases whilst he is facing such serious charges.

What should have happened, sources say, is that he should have been transferred to do administration work in the High Court until the completion of his case.
That he is still practicing as a lawyer, sources say, shows disrespect for the family of the person who was killed in the car accident and is very unprofessional.

“When people are facing such serious charges, they have to be interdicted. It has happened to a lot of government employees and we see no reason why it is not happening in the present case,” said a source.

Last week another lawyer, Michael Morwamang, appeared in court facing charges of having unprotected sex with someone whilst he was on ARV treatment. He has not been interdicted as well.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.