Sunday, November 1, 2020

Interesting cases lined up for Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeals sitting is scheduled to start on June 28 and will, as usual, hear both criminal and civil appeals.

By far the most interesting criminal case on its calendar is the one in which Thubisani Popo, one of only two of the country’s death row prisoners, is appealing against the sentence. He was convicted of killing a pregnant Molepolole woman, Boitshwarelo Tinki Balotlegi, for ritual purposes.

His appeal was initially scheduled to be heard during the February session but was later postponed to this coming session.

Popo will, once more, be represented by Themba Joina whilst Merapelo Mokgosi, of the Directorate of Public Prosecution, will be representing the state.

Popo, who has been the country’s only death row prisoner, was last week joined by a Zimbabwean, Gerald Dube, who was convicted and sentenced to death for killing Francistown lawyer Patricia Majoko, her two children and a maid.
Among other criminal appeals is that of the notorious David July, who is serving a 25-year-jail term for armed robbery, office breaking and abduction of a police officer. The policeman was abducted during an armed robbery at Shakawe Police Station where July and some of his friends, some of whom are now deceased, stole over P100, 000 destined for drought relief. Nchidzi Hazard Scotch, yet another convicted criminal, is also appealing against a 25-year sentence for double murder.

Another notorious convict, Edward Mzwinila, will also be appealing against a 10-year jail term for armed robbery. Mzwinila is still facing numerous other criminal cases.

In the civil division, the case likely to attract the most attention is one in which lawyers who successfully represented the Basarwa of the CKGR want the government to pay the costs of the case.

The Court in December did not issue an order on who should pay the costs and the applicants’ lawyers, Duma Boko and UK-based Gordon Bennet, feel they should have been awarded costs which are estimated at thousands of pula.

Another high profile civil case will be that of Daisy Loo versus the Gaborone City Council.

In this matter, Daisy Loo is appealing against Chief Justice Julian Nganunu’s verdict which dismissed a P24 million claim made by Daisy Loo against the GCC for bush clearing in Gaborone.

At the height of this case, the Gaborone City was nearly brought to its knees when Deputy Sheriffs, acting on behalf of Daisy Loo, impounded GCC vehicles.

This led to the intervention of the Local Government Ministry which issued a cheque to the Council only for the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime to confiscate the cheque saying they were going to use it in their investigations of the award of tender to Daisy Loo.

This again led to another court case which ended with the ruling that the cheque be saved in an interest making account instead of giving it to Daisy Loo.

All judges in the session will be expatriates. This is so despite promises in the past that the bench would be localized.

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