Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Prison wardens acquitted in assault case

Gaborone Extension Two Magistrate Masawi has discharged and acquitted Mahutsana Bogotso, Ronald Kgaogano and Keorapetse Mmolai – the three prison wardens who were charged with assaulting prisoners Badisa Moatshe and Tefo Montshwari on 12 February, 2008.

Acquitting and discharging the three wardens, Masawi said that she had found that the prisoners who were claiming to have been assaulted were not truthful witnesses.

She said this was because they had fabricated most of the evidence to the extent that they even implicated wardens who were not present at prison at the time the alleged assaults took place.

She said this leaves her with no option but to acquit and discharge the accused persons because of the untruthfulness of the alleged assault victims.

Earlier on when making final submissions in this matter, Winter Tirelo, of the Directorate of Public Prosecution, had submitted that all the state witnesses, including the two complainants, had told the Court that the complainants were badly assaulted by the prison wardens and that they were assaulted by many prison wardens.

Masawi said that the fact that the complainants were assaulted was not in dispute. It was admitted by the defense that the assault was carried out with wardens applying minimum force as per Prison Act.

For his part, defense lawyer, Farai Mahwipe, submitted that the alleged assault occurred when the accused persons were locking up prisoners, as per their duties, and that the prison inmates resisted body search, hence force had to be used as allowed by the Prison Act.

During the trial, former Lobatse High Court judge Unity Dow gave evidence, saying that when she was judge in the High Court she had heard one prisoner complaining that he had been assaulted by wardens.

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