Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Defence lawyer challenges the President Pleasure Act

In a case in which a mentally disturbed man of Mookane Village hacked his mother to death with an iron rod and wounded one other person, the defence attorney, Kerobilwe Ditlhobolo, on Friday took issue with the relevance of the President Pleasure Act on the mentally disturbed offenders.

On bringing the submissions before Francistown High Court Judge, Mpaphi Phumaphi, he pointed out that the Act seems to shed the mentally disabled offenders in the dark. He illustrated that the act allows that the mentally disturbed people who commit offences be detained at the mercy of the President Pleasure Act but there is no follow up report of what happens next.

Section 158 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act states that the President may order the accused to be confined at his pleasure in a place of safe custody, or may take course if it seems proper in the circumstances.

Ditlhobolo also highlighted that despite the offenders being detained, the law is often silent on what the next procedure is. He stated that the courts need to protect people who are mentally challenged and need to recognize them. He also highlighted that the act needs to be amended so that there is progress with such matters.

He brought to the court’s attention that it was a long time since the accused had been remanded in custody under this act, and it was time that he was sent to a psychiatrist for analysis and that a medical report be presented before court and so there was need for postponement of the case.

The defence attorney also put forward the fact that there was need for a law that will at least probe the President to do something after such an order.

It is alleged that the accused, who is also mentally disturbed, used a branding iron to kill his mother, Serie Tjihindwa, on the 22nd of September 2006 in Mookane Village in the Central District. He also stabbed one Peke Sempotseng Makgasa with a knife.

On the day, the accused is alleged to have entered the deceased’s house and repeatedly struck her on the head with the branding iron. He went on to stab the one person who attempted to intervene to stop the horrid action.

He was then handed to the Police and was charged with two counts of murder and unlawful wounding.

The state counsel, Rabosotho Reneetswe, also applied that the case be postponed.

Judge Phumaphi ordered that there was need for a qualified psychiatrist to assess the accused man and further stated that it would be for the Prison officers to decide where the accused would be evaluated.

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