Saturday, May 15, 2021

Justice Walia reported to JSC for Judicial misconduct

High Court Judge Lakvinder Walia has been reported to Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for Judicial misconduct.

Friday Leburu of Friday Leburu Attorneys is accusing Walia of pre-judging a case in which the State is prosecuting his client one Patrick Chirunga for murder.

The Sunday Standard is in possession of a letter from Leburu dated 22 June 2015 and addressed to the Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo and copied to the JSC. According to the letter on the 15th June 2015 Leburu as the attorney of the accused filed an urgent application for bail.

The matter was allocated to Justice Walia and after conferring with the Registrar of the High Court, the matter was set down for the 19th of June 2015. The set down was also communicated to the prosecution.

“However on the 16th of June 2015, I was informed by Justice Walia’s clerk and the Assistant Registrar Nlanda that Justice Walia has written a letter to the Registrar stating that the matter is not urgent. A misnomer to us,” Leburu stated in his letter.

Leburu argues that at the time Walia authored the letter; Justice Walia had not heard any representations from counsel on both sides and had made decision on his own.

“We sought to establish, after being so informed of the learned Judge’s step, the basis for such a step. I presented myself to Justice Walia’s chambers along with the prosecutor Ms Bafedile to at least have a sense of how the decision was made. The clerk informed us that the learned judge will not see us as he does not want to do so as that is not necessary,” argues Leburu.

In his considered view Leburu said Walia’s decision goes against the basic rules of procedures and Botswana law. “We consider this to be Judicial Misconduct; we deem it a misconduct which needs to be addressed with a great sense of urgency and a solemn approach. “as a result therefore we note this complaint against the honourable judge, Truly Justice will be imperiled if judgements are handed down willy nilly by our bench without the input of counsel who are in receipt of notices of set down from the Registrar anticipating a day in court,” Leburu concluded in his letter of complaint.

Law Society Botswana is expected to join the fray against Justice walia.

Speaking to Sunday Standard the chairman of Law Society Botswana Lawrence Lecha said they will discuss the matter with the concerned lawyer.

“Unfortunately the matter was addressed to Chief Justice and we were not aware of the matter, had the matter been addressed to us as well we would be finding ways of assisting the lawyer. We will discuss the matter further with the lawyer and see how we can assist him,” Lecha told Sunday Standard in a telephone interview.

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