Monday, September 28, 2020

Bayford, Boko vow to reveal truth about Kalafatis killing

Prominent lawyers, Dick Bayford and Duma Boko, have revealed that their investigations have ruled out the involvement of the Botswana Police Service (BPS) in the shooting of John Kalafatis, who is by now a household name in Botswana after news of his “murder” by security agents shook the country.

Bayford and Boko have assured the public and the family of the deceased that they shall reveal the truth of what really happened to Kalafatis and who is to blame, even if it meant placing themselves at risk.

“The president has threatened to sue newspapers for speaking up about the Kalafatis case. If the Honourable One wants to take the lawyers to court as well, then he is most welcome,” said Boko.

Speculation ran wild as people tried to understand who ordered the killing of Kalafatis when both the BDF and the BPS distanced themselves from the issue of ordering the alleged execution of Kalafatis.
According to Boko, there is evidence pertaining to the fact that the police had originally been involved in the plot to detain Kalafatis but pulled out of the operation somewhere along the line because, as it stands, evidence points that no police officer was identified at the scene of the crime.
Information processed by the Sunday Standard reveals that at one point the Botswana Police Service (BPS)’s Public Relations Officer, Christopher Mbulawa, had admitted that the BPS had declared Kalafatis a wanted man although he (Mbulawa) had yet to find out the reason for the status.

“In carrying out our investigations, we will therefore be focusing on the presence of two security agencies, the BDF and the DIS, and their involvement in the killing on an unarmed citizen. We will focus and precede step-byÔÇôstep like a laser until we reach the truth,” said Boko.

The Minister of Justice, Defense and Security, Ramadeluka Seretse, recently addressed a press conference and revealed that Kalafatis was wanted for armed robbery and that both the Police Commissioner and the BDF commander were aware of why he was a wanted man.
The minister also suggested that at one point, an arrest warrant for Kalafatis had been issued.

“To date, there is no reported case of any wrongdoing by a John Kalafatis at any police station or court. If there was a warrant issued as the minister suggests, then we want proof of how they went through the process of acquiring the warrant,” said Boko.

The two lawyers, who volunteered their services to the Kalafatis family, addressed a news conference where they revealed the findings of the chief state pathologist after thorough examination of the body that was once Kalafatis.
In obtaining evidence and reports, the lawyers have been working with the police who had been somewhat cooperative until they found out that the lawyers were planning to show the footage of the pathologist’s report to the public.
Bayford said they then received a letter from the Police warning them that there would be ‘consequences’ of showing such footage.

“It sounded somewhat like a threat; I cannot say for sure because to me a threat would have to be on some legal basis or it becomes an empty threat,” said Boko.

“The manner in which the murder was carried out caused controversy on what actually transpired. Some said 8 bullets killed Kalafatis, others said more. Because of the extent of the wounds, we wanted the public to have a clear understanding of what transpired,” said Bayford.

To add to the controversy, the pathologist’s report stated that the amount of gun powder residue found indicates that the bullets were designed in such a way that they would not exit the body after they entered it. One would interpret it to mean that the bullets were meant for Kalafatis alone as the statement could be read to mean that, in that state, the bullets wouldn’t harm anyone else nearby.
Bayford had earlier indicated that because of the above statement it would appear as if this execution had long been planned.

The pathologist’s findings were that 10 bullets shot the deceased, and that any of those injuries could have instantly killed the deceased.

“The injuries sustained by the deceased were not survivable,” the statement read.

The range of the shootings could not be clearly identified from the autopsy, but one of the bullets left residue around the bullet entry point thus leaving the pathologist to make an experienced estimation that the shot was taken from approximately 150mm range (15cm).
The lawyers are still working on the similarities and differences in the report from the chief state pathologist’s report and the private forensic pathologist’s report.

The lawyers are, however, concerned at how the police have neglected the car (exhibit) that Kalafatis was in at the time the shootings took place because according to them, the place where the car is kept is worrisome, as there is no gate and no guard therefore evidence could disappear.

“Our position is that we fear that the state could be trying to conceal the fact that a murder was committed and they are trying to cover for the culprits, whom we hear are on active duty and continue life as if nothing happened,” said Bayford.

To close off the proceedings Boko addressed his remarks to other families.
“I wish the families of those involved in killings similar to that of Kalafatis could also engage lawyers for help, not necessarily myself or my colleague,” said Boko.

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