Southern Regional Magistrate, Lot Moroka, has referred to Principal Magistrate, Faith Dlamini Ngandu, a case for retrial in which a Russian citizen, Sergei Pastouchenko, was early this year sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for defilement.
This follows after a Lobatse High Court judge, Norman Newman, found that there were several irregularities in the way the case was handled by a Lower Court magistrate.
Judge Newman then ordered Moroka to assign another magistrate to try the Russian who is currently in jail.
The irregularities that Newman cited in his judgment include the fact that, though there were two qualified lawyers representing the state, the trial had been left to take its course even though Pastouchenko and 14 prosecution witnesses failed to take an oath or make an affirmation.
Newman also said that it had not escaped his attention that in some instances, where the case was adjourned during the examination of certain witnesses, they had to be reminded by the magistrate that they were still under oath.
That situation, he said, pertained to seven prosecution witnesses, including one child witness, and also to Pastouchenko.