A prolonged case from 2004 in which two Zimbabwean nationals allegedly killed their fellow countryman was last week postponed by Francistown High Court Judge, Modiri Letsididi.
The Prosecutor, Nomsa Moatswi, had begged court to postpone the case, saying that the state was still waiting for Interpol to give a replication on the location of the witnesses in South Africa.
The accused, Brain Dube and Nkululeko Nkomo, who has since passed away, allegedly murdered Clifford Membe at the Mpatane Lands in the Central District on the 8th of July in 2004.
The prosecutor also told court that efforts of reaching the key witnesses in South Africa were proving futile as Interpol has never replied to their request to help locate the witnesses in South Africa.
“The other thing that is making it difficult for us to locate the witnesses is that they gave the police addresses in their home country Zimbabwe only to learn that they repatriated to South Africa,” Moatswi told court.
However, Francistown based attorney, Tshedukani Elijah, of Elijah Attorneys, maintained that the prosecution had ample time to make sure that the witnesses be brought from South Africa. He further brought to the court’s attention that his client had been rotting in jail for six years ever since he was arrested and postponing the case for another month would only be unfair and unbearable to his client.
Elijah further brought to the court’s attention that the prosecution did not have any concrete indication that they had tried their best to extradite the witnesses from South Africa.
However giving his ruling, Letsididi said that he acknowledged that the accused had been detained in prison for a long time and indicated that if the accused was a legal immigrant the court would drop charges against him. Letsididi went on to mention that he would grant the prosecution a period of one month and warned that if they still fail to bring the witnesses they will have to continue with the witnesses they have or he will drop the charges against the accused.
“If it was not on the grounds that the accused was arrested as an illegal immigrant, the court would drop charges against him because he has been languishing in prison for 6 years without any progress in the case,” Justice Letsididi remarked.