Monday, May 25, 2020

Death row inmate to wait longer

Benson Keganne, a death row inmate who was sentenced to death for the murder of a Phitshane Molopo woman, Gloria Mahowe, will have to wait for the July session of the Court of Appeal for his appeal to be heard.

The appeal was initially set to be heard in the January session, but it was postponed after the lawyer representing him, Joar Salbany, told the Court that he would not be able to continue representing Keganne because he was relocating from the country.

The file was then referred back to the Court of Appeal for the office to find another lawyer for Keganne and it was only last week that Bahuma and Mack Attorneys were given instructions to represent Keganne.

This was confirmed by the prosecutor in the matter, Mosweu Ditodi, who said that he had just received information from the Court of Appeal, informing him that the appeal had been taken over by lawyers from Bahuma, Mack Attorneys.

When he was conducting Keganne’s defence, Salbany had asked the Court to ask the government to produce an undertaking reached between Botswana and South African governments that Keganne and his two co-accused, currently serving lengthy jail sentences, would not be hanged even if the Courts found them guilty of the murder.

Prosecution had opposed the application saying that if there was such an undertaking, it was for the government and not the Court to deal with. But the Court concurred with Salbany and instructed that efforts should be made to obtain it for the coming session.

Salbany had also complained that it was cruel that his then client continued to be kept on death row when there was such an undertaking. The existence of such an undertaking has since been confirmed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, Augustine Makgonatsotlhe.

In the same session that starts on the 14 of April, there will be an appeal by Brandon Sampson and Michael Molefe, who have been sentenced to death for murdering two Zimbabwean citizens after an illegal money transaction went sour.

They were sentenced to death by the current Chief justice, Maupin Dibotelo.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

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