Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Did Judge Mothobi resign under pressure?

Gaborone High Court Justice Michael Mothobi has resigned from the bench amid a probe by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Mothobi was currently serving his retirement notice and was expected to retire from the judicial service at the end of September 2021.

Information reaching this publication is that Mothobi is being investigated by the JSC for, among other things, failure to deliver judgements within reasonable time.

The source said his appearance before the JSC on Friday might have influenced his decision to resign, especially that there was also an issue of ill-health on his part.

In an interview with this publication Mothobi referred all inquiries to The Registrar of the High Court for Public relations Unit saying he is not authorised to talk to the media.

And when contacted for comment on Monday, Administration of Justice Deputy Registrar Nomsa Moatswi was resistant to confirm nor deny his resignation.

But some hours later after pressure from the media inquiry, the Administration of Justice issued a statement explaining his resignation titled: “Resignation on Medical Grounds with immediate effect Judge Michael Mothobi.” 

In the statement, Secretary for the Judicial Service Commission Juliana Dube says the JSC wishes to inform members of the Public that Judge Mothobi has resigned on medical grounds with immediate effect and that the cases pending before Mothobi will be started de novo.

This statement confirms that indeed there are pending judgments and disposal of cases before justice Mothobi.

The Law Society of Botswana has on numerous occasions during official day of the Legal year kept reminding government that the society has noted with concern the delayed delivery of judgment and disposal of cases.

Since 2015, the LSB has noted with concern some delayed judgment and disposal of cases by some judges of the High Court.

In one of his speeches, while he was the Chairman of the Law Society of Botswana, Kgalalelo Monthe called on the Administration of Justice to name the concerned judges for the public to know who are delaying in disposing of judgment for the benefit of justice to prevail.

“The society has therefore resolved to create measures to name judges whose judgments are delayed beyond 90 days from the time the matter is being concluded. The 90 days is a measure that the High Court has set for itself for delivery of judgments. The society will publish details of the cases indicating dates when the matter was concluded,” said Monthe.

Matters under certificate of urgency and summary judgments sometimes have a judgment delivered more than a year after the proceedings were launched and arguments completed. This therefore defeats the purpose of both procedures to the detriments of the litigants.

He said it is common practice that such incidents do not apply to all the judges. Monthe called on the AoJ to name and shame the concerned judges.

“It will therefore be proper to name the concerned judges and not to paint the entire bench with the one brush,” said Monthe.

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