Saturday, April 4, 2020

Justice delayed by magistrate’s other commitments

A case postponed five months ago by the Deputy Registrar and Master of the Lobatse High Court, Nelson Bopa, has still not been scheduled for trial.
This was confirmed by the prosecutor of the case, Frederick Mpopang, of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions. Mpopang told The Sunday Standard that he has been trying to contact Bopa to set new dates for the trial but that has proved unsuccessful up to now.

”I always try to contact him so that we can set new dates for the trial but have so far failed,” said Mpopang. “I now intend to write him a letter on the matter with the hope that we will be able to set new dates.”

The case involves prisoners Sibi Kgomotso and Thami Magami who are currently behind bars.
Kgomotso and Magami, along with four others currently on bail, are facing charges of having robbed several people of luxury cars such as Mercedes Benz and BMWs in the early 90s in and around Gaborone.

Mpopang acknowledged that the case had taken long without and that it was not fair for the suspects some of whom are behind bars.

Kgomotso has in the past taken issue with Bopa’s failure to turn up at Court on the scheduled dates of hearing and accused him of having no regard for them simply because they were prisoners.

Kgomotso also said that the problem with Bopa is that he held more than one post at a time. Bopa had afterwards acknowledged that he had failed to appear on several occasions and that the reason for that was his commitment at the High Court and promised to speed up the trial but that had never happened.

In a related case in which Bopa is presiding, a fraud case in which two lawyers, Hebert Sikhakhane and Tiro Mothusi, are facing fraud charges has been postponed to September 11, 2007.

This is the third time the case has had to be postponed on grounds that Bopa was not available because of his other commitments at the High Court. This postponement was confirmed by the Deputy Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Phadi Solomon, who confirmed that she had been given the new date by Bopa.

On the date the case resumes, Bopa is expected to pass a ruling on whether he agrees to let Mothusi’s lawyer, Tengo Rubadiri, to reopen their case.
When making the application, Rubadiri had said that they wanted to reopen the case in regard to the issue of whether their witness, Akofang Moasetso, who had during cross examination by the state turned hostile, was, at any time after giving evidence on behalf of the defence, detained.

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