There was standing room only after additional chairs were squeezed into the modest Southern Regional Magistrates courtroom where members of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) and journalists came out in force for the trial of four Botswana Defence Force (BDF) corporals accused of murdering John Kalafatis.
The accused quartet covered their faces as they shuffled out of the packed courtroom. But instead of being frog marched into the back of a police van in leg shackles, they were freed to roam outside court without police escort.
The kid glove treatment was not lost on a throng of reporters who are following the trial and provoked a question on which the police force and security intelligence’s integrity will depend: Are the four soldiers accused of murdering Kalafatis given preferential treatment?
Photographers squinting behind cameras were milling among the crowd hoping to sneak the best shot of the camera shy accused four who spent most of the time covering their faces from relentless photographers.
One of the accused peeled off from the crowd that had massed outside the court building and wondered about 200 meters away to make a cellular phone call. When he discovered that photographers were tailing him, he broke into a sprint, then suddenly stopped, picked up stones and charged at Koketso Maele of Botswana Gazette and Oaitse Sejakgomo of the Sunday Standard.
The four accused soldiers then climbed into a Hyundai Accent to be chauffeured by a DIS colleague to a holding cell were they will be remanded until their next date in court.
The John Kalafatis case has been a year coming to court and investigations have raised 21 witnesses and generated 26 pages in summery of evidence. The prosecution’s list of exhibits includes a post-mortem examination report, an affidavit by Assistant Commissioner of Police Nunu Lesetedi, three affidavits by three different forensic experts, a photo album, a savingram from the Botswana Defence Force, a Botswana police form, three semi automatic sig Sauer pistols and three box type magazines.
According to the particulars of offence, the accused BDF corporals, Dzikamani Mothobi, Goitsemang Sechele, Ronny Matako and Boitshoko Maifala “on or about 13th of May 2009, at or near Moonland Shopping Complex, in Gaborone, in the Gaborone Administrative District of the Republic of Botswana, acting together and in concert murdered John Kalafatis”.