Lobatse High Court Judge Maruping Dibotelo on Friday ordered that criminal trials of Louis Nchindo, his son Garvas, Joe Matome and Jacob Sesinyi, who are facing corruption charges, be stayed until the final determination by his Court.
The first application referred to was an application in which the accused persons seek a review and the setting aside of the orders Southern Region Magistrate Lot Moroka handed down on 26 February,2009 relating to the furnishings of further particulars to the accused persons in respect of the charges they are facing and directing the Directorate of Public Prosecutions to furnish further particulars required by the accused persons in respect to those charges.
Passing the ruling, Dibotelo said that, in his view, the issue that has to be determined in this application is whether his Court should issue an order staying the criminal trial before Moroka and the taking of pleas from the accused persons in that criminal trial.
The final determination of the first application is pending before his Court and is scheduled to be heard on the 13 and 14 of July 2009.
Dibotelo said the Court has to consider what will become of the proceedings with the trial if, after the taking of pleas from the accused persons and proceeding with the trial, the Court decides in the pending application that the accused persons are entitled to and should be furnished with the particulars and documents they have requested in respect of the charges they are facing.
Dibotelo said that he had no doubt that if his Court were to find in the first application that the accused persons are entitled to the particulars and the documents they requested after the criminal trial was in progress that would be very disruptive and chaotic to the criminal trial and would put the administration of justice in disrepute.
He agreed with the submissions of the accused persons’ counsel that it would be highly prejudicial to the accused persons and in conflict with their constitutional right to a fair trial if the criminal trial were to start without the first application having been decided by his Court.
Further, he said that it must be borne in mind that the accused persons had come to his Court contending whether, rightly or wrongly, that certain of their constitutional rights to a fair trial are being or have been infringed and that it is right that his Court should decide those issues before the criminal trial before Moroka can proceed.
He further said that the only way to proceed at that stage was to stay or postpone the criminal trial before Moroka until the first application had been determined and finalised by his Court.
Nchindo and his co-accused were in this matter represented by advocate Webster and Farlam, who were assisted by Parks Tafa, while the Directorate of Public Prosecutions was represented by Matlhogonolo Phuthego.