Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Officers accused of murder win temporary let off

Six police officers, implicated in the suspected murder of Italy Setlampoloka, were on Monday granted a temporary reprieve while the court decides whether they can be formally hauled before the High Court on a murder rap.

This follows the application by the defence counsel, led by defence attorneys, Kgosietsile Ngakayagae and Busang Manewe that the summary of evidence brought forward by the state was prejudicial and will subsequently lead to the accused having an unfair trial.

Pleading his clients’ case before Magistrate Haiwu Nuru, the defence attorneys said presenting the summary of evidence, as it is, is likely to prejudice their clients even before the trial begins.

The defence pleaded that the summary of evidence be stripped of all its inadmissible evidence before going to the High Court so as to give the six accused a fair and just trial.

The six accused police officers, namely Ranto Mmeleki (38), Tebogo Khutsafalo (35), Kabo Moffat Ramohibidu (30), Michael Ramhitshana (32), Dithuso Dintwe (41) and Patrick Gobotswang were arraigned on charges ranging from murder, destroying evidence, unlawful disposal of a dead body as well as giving false information to a person employed in the public service.

In the first count, five of the accused, Mmeleki, Khutsafalo, Ramohibidu, Ramhitshana and Gobotswang are alleged to have on or about the 29th of July 2009 murdered Setlampoloka, whom they had earlier picked up for interrogation.

The five are also facing another charge of destroying evidence. According to the charge sheet, the accused also destroyed the plastic and tyre tube used to torture the deceased, while aware that it would be required in evidence in judicial proceedings.

It is alleged that the accused persons burnt the tyre tube and the plastic in a rubbish container.

On the third count, three of the five murder accused, Mmeleki, Khutsafalo and Gobotswang are, together with Dintwe, alleged to have unlawfully dumped the body of the deceased at the Samokala lands in Gabane.

On the fourth count, all the six accused are facing a charge of giving false information to a person employed in the public service.

It is alleged that the six accused, on the 6th of August 2009, gave false information to Detective Senior Superintendent Mosalagae Moseki, to the effect that the deceased, Setlaampoloka, had escaped from lawful custody at Gabane Village and was subsequently found having committed suicide at the Samokala lands.

The six were granted a P3┬á000 bail and two sureties each to await the magistrate court’s decision. They are expected to appear before magistrate Nuru again on April 18.

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