Saturday, May 28, 2022

Rape convict claims unfair trial by magistrate

On Friday, a middle aged man of Rakops in the Boteti Sub District appealed to Francistown High Court Judge, Tshepo Motswagole, to reduce his sentence of 15 years imprisonment saying the magistrate court never allowed him a fair trial.

Dipuo Nkhawa, who is accused of rape and assault, took issue with the magistrate, complaining that his co-accused was never tried with him and claimed that a wrong charge of rape was put to him.
“I was even sentenced for the offence that I never even committed because the magistrate court was not fair,” the emotionally drained Nkhawa told court.

In his grounds of appeal, Nkhawa went on to tell the Judge that the only charge he pleads guilty to is the charge of assault of the complainant in the matter.

Nkhawa also pointed a finger at the magistrate, saying the magistrate refused him to cross examine the witnesses during the trial because it was his first time in court and hence the refusal by the magistrate to allow him a legal representative to advise him on court proceedings.

“I was even blamed for skipping mentions, but had indicated that I have health problems because I always had to consult with medical officers when I had to come to court for mentions.”

However, Chimbisana Sechele of the Department of Public Prosecution rubbished Nkhawa’s grounds of appeal saying that he was afforded a long time to seek legal consultation.

“We furnished him with the dates of the trial and even asked him if he would seek legal representation and he said he would represent himself in the case,” said Sechele.

Referring to the records of the case, Justice Motswaledi dismissed the appeal saying that it showed in the records that evidence was proved beyond reasonable doubt by the witnesses and also maintained that the accused was given ample time to find legal representation. The Judge also told Nkhawa that his co-accused could not be charged as the witnesses linked him alone to the charge.
“You were granted ample time to consult with a legal representative therefore you should not hold the court at ransom for your own actions,” the Judge said.

According to the charge sheet, the appellant was charged with rape on the 3rd of September in 2005 and was later sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

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