The Francistown Magistrate Court turned into drama last week as the man charged for assaulting the Francistown Principal Magistrate Peggy Madandume decided to walk out of court saying that his case was going to be prejudiced.
Just as the trial was about to commence, the accused, Edson Maphorisa, told court that the Francistown Magistrate Sijabuliso Siziba, who is handling his case, should recuse himself from the matter as there is possibility for bias in the matter since he is a colleague to the complainant, adding that his case should be handled by a Regional Magistrate.
Maphorisa then left the court room after several attempts by the Magistrate to convince him that should he feel prejudiced he can take the matter to the High Court for appeal after judgment.
“The position of being magistrate is a high post which requires professionalism and, as a presiding officer, there is no reasonable fact that links me with the allegations not to conduct the trial,” said the Magistrate.
According to the charge sheet, Maphorisa on the 6th of January in 2011 at the Francistown Magistrate Court while appearing for another matter, allegedly threw a water glass at the Francistown Principal Magistrate, Peggy Madandume, during a court session on the claim that his rights were trampled as he demanded court to give him the copy of a written ruling for his matter before court.
Maphorisa, who is facing another charge for store breaking, was then arrested by the security officers who were in court.
However, prior to the accused leaving court, the Magistrate had also advised the accused of his rights, warning him that he should be aware that if he leaves court, the trial will proceed in his absence and this will be costly to him as his side of the story will not be heard before court. The accused then stood up and left the courtroom but was intercepted whisked away by the jail guards as he was in custody.
Giving evidence, the complainant, Madandume, told court that while conducting a trial on the accused last year, he demanded that he be given his ruling in a written document form. She said that she then ordered the court secretaries and the court reporters to do so and she went for leave. She said that when she came back from leave on the 6th of January this year during a court session, the accused, who was appearing for mention, started demanding the copy of the ruling from Madandume.
“I tried to explain that I had directed the court reporters who delayed in giving it to him and further promised that he will get it in his next mention,” she said.
She said that Maphorisa started mumbling words and snatched a water glass from the prosecution table then aimed for the magistrate head and she ducked as it shattered on the wall.
After all the state witnesses gave evidence, Magistrate Siziba ruled that the prosecution should serve their written submissions on Monday (tomorrow) and added that the accused should also serve his replication by 14 of October this year. He said that court will then set date for judgment.
The state is represented by Isaac Bojang of the Directorate of Public Prosecution while the accused is not represented.