Sunday, April 18, 2021

Court of Appeal gets two additional sessions

The first April Court of Appeal session is scheduled to start sitting on April 15 and an additional session will be in September.

The two additional sessions were introduced last year in a bid to reduce a back log of cases at the Courts.

Before this, the Court of Appeal sat only in January and July.

High on the roll of the April session is the appeal brought before the Court by two condemned prisoners, Kgotso Brandon Sampson, a Botswana citizen, and Michael Molefe, a South African.
Both have been sitting in jail for the last ten years.

Sampson and Molefe were found guilty of murdering two Zimbabweans after an illegal money transaction went sour. They were sentenced to death by the current Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo.
After their conviction, their appeal case was postponed on several occasions for various reasons, the last time being in the January session because of the attorney, Ookeditse Maphakwane, was ill.
At the same session of Court of Appeal, judges stressed that the case should, without failure, be heard in the April session as it had been before Court for a long time.

On the other hand, missing on the roll is the case of another condemned prisoner, Benson Keganne, who was found guilty of having murdered a Phitshane Molopo woman, Gloria Mahowe, together with two South Africans who were sentenced to lengthy jail sentences on grounds that they were young and had played a minor role in the commission of the crime.

His appeal had been scheduled for the January session but was postponed to the April session after his state appointed lawyer, Joar Salbany, recused himself from the case on the grounds that he would not be able to represent Keganne as he was relocating.

In last July’s session, the case was postponed after Salbany had demanded that the state provide him with documents that prove that the Botswana government had made an undertaking that the suspect would not be executed even if found guilty of murder by the Courts.

The undertaking was made as a pre condition for their extradition to Botswana to stand trial where Keganne and his two associates in crime were jailed after being taken there by the Botswana government.

Members of Botswana Police Service had apparently arrested them illegally in South Africa after they had committed murder in Botswana and illegally crossed into South Africa. The South African government protested and after sometime they were taken back to South Africa.

There will also be 13 other criminal appeals, mainly for convicts who are appealing against their convictions and sentences for crimes such as grievous bodily harm, attempted murder, murder, rape, defilement and burglary.

There will also be five civil cases.

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