Francistown-based lawyer, Tshekiso Tshekiso, on Monday dragged the state before Francistown High Court Judge, Moses Chinhengo, demanding P350 000 as compensation for damages.
According to his summons, on the 14th of December 2007, the Chief State Prosecutor, Mpho Letsoalo, who was based at the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in Francistown, uttered words in court which the plaintiff feels wrongfully demeaned his image, harmed his dignity and reputation.
Tshekiso claims that the defendant uttered the words of “You suffer from verbal dirrhoaea and you are myopic”.
“As a result of such utterance, which was made in public and in the presence of members of the public who attended the court session, my client was insulted and was as a result humiliated and degraded by this words,” his lawyer told court.
However, giving evidence in court, the defendant, Mpho Letsoalo, said that the whole saga began when he was to appear for a case with the plaintiff on 14 December 2007 at the Francistown Magistrate court. He said that during that day he felt the need to attend to his doctor as he was not feeling well and was then given sick leave.
┬á“I briefed two state counsels to appear on my behalf as I was going on sick leave, and during that day I was ordered by the Magistrate to come back to court in the afternoon only to be told that Mr Tshekiso had told court that my sick leave document was not genuine and that we, as the state, are not eager or not very serious to proceed with the trial,” court heard.
Letsoalo said that he then only replied in court that Mr Tshekiso suffers from verbal diarrhoaea. He also told court that the plaintiff’s statements were the ones which were demeaning and disrespectful, especially the fact that he is a senior counselor while Tshekiso is a junior counselor.
He went on to rubbish the claims by Tshekiso that the state did not want to proceed with the said case, adding that Lyndon Mothusi, the lawyer who represented some of the accused in the case, had also given an excuse not to attend court during that day as he was at the High Court on a different matter.
The plaintiff attorney Kagiso Jani of Ditiro and Jani Associates argued that the utterances by Letsoalo were gravely offensive and constitute an insult with the malicious intention to harm Tshekiso’s integrity, self esteem and dignity. He went on to say that not only did the said statements by Letsoalo cause a big embarrassment, but lowered the reputation of his client as an attorney. The defendant was represented by Wananani Sibanda, assisted by David Moloise from the Attorney General’s Office.
The plaintiff and defendant’s lawyers are yet to issue written submissions to court on the 25th of August.