Sunday, September 27, 2020

Court of Appeal session starts on Wednesday

The July Court of Appeal session is scheduled to start sitting next Wednesday.

Missing in the session’s appeals roll are appeals by any of the five death row inmates.

Lobatse High Court Master and Registrar (Court of Appeal), Michael Motlhabi, says that the fact that there are no death row inmates’ appeals in the current session was because there were no such cases presented to them by their different lawyers.

According to him, the problem with such cases is that lawyers would like to be sure they have done their homework well before presenting the cases for a hearing by the highest Court in the land.

“Lawyers always want to make sure they have done their homework in such cases and I think this is why there are no such cases in the present roll. They are probably still working on them,” he said.

There are currently five death row inmates in Botswana. Three of them are Batswana whilst the other two are South African and Zimbabwean citizens.
The majority of cases to be heard in the session will, as in the past, be criminal applications which number five; criminal appeals which number 21, civil appeals, 11 and three dismissals.
Criminal appeals include those of rape, murder, car theft, armed robbery and assault. As has always been the case, those appealing criminal cases do not have representatives.

This has, in the past, angered advocate Peter Collins who said that it was unfair for people appearing in the Court of Appeal not to have legal representation in a democratic country.
With no death sentence appeals, the exciting cases are going to be in the civil division.

The one likely to attract a lot of attention in that division is the case in which liquor traders around the country are challenging the Attorney General, as a representative and on behalf of the Botswana Police Service and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in regard to the interpretation of the Trade and Liquor Act of 1986, specifically on its trading hours.
A lower Court by Lobatse High Court judge Isaac Lesetedi has, in the past, ruled that the government was wrong in coming up with new business hours which liquor traders had argued would kill their businesses.

The government has appealed the judgment on the grounds that it was wrong on many legal points.

Another interesting civil case will be the one in which Guta Ra Mwari Church members are appealing against the decision of the High Court on issues of privilege under the constitution of the church.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.