Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Prosecution seeks mental re-evaluation of former soldier facing murder charges

The prosecution has tendered an application before Francistown High Court Judge, Barnabas Nyamadzabo seeking an order to send Thebe Njavera, a former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) soldier facing two counts of murder, for a second psychiatric re-evaluation.

The accused, who was based at Donga Military camp in Francistown, allegedly murdered his two daughters at Somerset Extension location in Francistown after a misunderstanding with the mother of his children on the 4th of February 2013.

According to the facts from prosecution, the accused was left in the company of his two daughters during the fateful day as the mother of the children had gone to work. It is alleged that when the mother came back from work she found the two children dead in a pool of blood and the accused had already fled. He was then arrested the same day through the help of the public and he was handed to the police.

Njavera who has since pleaded not guilty to both charges was initially sent for a psychiatric evaluation last year and it emerged that he was suffering from depression during the commission of the offences.

On Friday last week, the prosecutor Kuda Mbonini from the DPP pleaded with the court to grant them an order to conduct a second psychiatric evaluation on the accused as they did not agree with the findings of the first evaluation.

“We seek a second opinion on his psychiatric condition because we do not agree with the findings of the first evaluation. We believe this will help us conclude our case. We approached the officers at Sabrana Hospital to conduct a second psychiatric evaluation and they said that we should first seek a court order to do so,” she said.

However, the Defense Attorney, Reneetswe Rabosotho of Rabosotho Attorneys said that it was not proper for the prosecution to tender an oral application rather than a written application which should be properly served before the court. He also said that it was not fair for the prosecution to make such an application without giving his client reasons on why he should be re-evaluated.

“The purpose of today’s mention was for roll call. We feel that the state should have tendered a more formal application than an oral application. They have not served us with any formal documents detailing reasons why they seek a second psychiatric evaluation of my client. The state should detail fully in the formal application why they are dissatisfied with the first psychiatric evaluation. It is improper for the state to bring this application through the back door,” he said.

The defense attorney further accused the prosecution of contravening section 68 of the penal code by making such an application during a roll call.

Giving his ruling, Justice Nyamadzabo agreed with the defense that the application for psychiatric re-evaluation was not proper before court. He said that there is need for a proper filing of the application detailing the reasons for psychiatric re-evaluation.

“The court agrees with the defense that there is need for proper filing of the application.There is need for a proper document to be served to the defense to see if they agree or do not agree with your reasons to re-evaluate the accused,” the Judge said.

The Judge ordered that the prosecution should file their application before court by the 26th of September 2014 and should also serve a copy to the defense. He said that the defense should respond to the application by the 24th of October 2014.
The court will give its ruling on the 21st of November 2014.

The Judge however said that he will not set the dates for the roll call pending the ruling on the prosecution’s application. The accused is currently in custody.

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