Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Judges decline to recuse themselves in Gaetsaloe, Dingake case

Court of Appeal judges, Stanley Moore and Seth Twum, among others, have refused to recuse themselves from the hearing of a case brought by Donald Gaetsaloe, the man who claims that High Court judge Key Dingake was bribed.
This follows an application brought by Gaetsaloe’s lawyer, Itumeleng Segopolo.
The recusal application came just when the judges were about to hear an appeal in relation to a case that Gaetsaloe lost before Dingake.

The judges also gave notice that the Court will consider whether, in light of Segopolo’s remarks in a letter he wrote to the Court, his conduct should not be referred to the Law Society of Botswana and the Director of Public Prosecution for considerations in the context of contempt of Court.
In the letter complained about by the judges, Segopolo, amongst other things, complained that the judgment which he was appealing against had, amongst other things, “reproduced and adopted verbatim the entire text of the respondent’s submissions on its preliminary objection.
“These submissions are held to be inherently sound and are consistent with the Court’s views on the matter.

The respondents’ submissions become the judgment,” he wrote. “The overall impression that might reasonably be gained from the judgment and the entire progress of the matter is that the appellant is a troublesome and tedious fellow engaged in various , probably misconceived efforts to pursue an unmeritorious action and appeal . That certainly any person reasoning the judgment without any background knowledge would have to conclude that the appellant and his counsel were just plain silly to lodge an appeal on un-appealable subject matter ……..” Finally that “the appellant would be grateful if the Honourable Judge President and the Justices could consider his request and advise through the Registrar what decision they may come to”.

Dismissing the call for him to recuse himself, Moore said that he was unaware of any unfavourable attitude towards the appellant, that he has never been identified in Court as far as he could recall and that his appeal was dealt with barely on merits.

He said that he was unaware of any remarks , nor particulars appearing in the affidavit concerning the appellant and the conduct of his case which evidences an unfavourable attitude towards the appellant.

Counsel for the appellant, he said, did not point to any reasoning in the judgment which was alleged to be incorrect and that his thrust argument is that the Court committed a sin of omission by failing to incorporate his submissions into its body. That in any event, an appeal succeeds on the ground of appealability. Furthermore, he said that incorporating those other grounds and arguments into the judgment would have been a waste of human and material resources of the Court.

Another judge, Seth Twum, said that Segopolo‘s letter “was quite unfortunate that the best efforts of the Court to manage its case load judiciously so as to afford all parties concerned the opportunity to have their cases heard this session as expeditiously as possible could be described by Segopolo as likely to lead to expedient sausage machine injustice and that there is a feeling abroad that justice delayed is justice denied.”
The Debswana Diamond Company is in the matter represented by advocate Vivian Vegeeger and Makati Mpho.

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