Sunday Standard editor, Outsa Mokone will tomorrow (Monday) appear before Lobatse High Court Judge Justice Dube in a bid to overturn sedition charged slapped on him.
Mokone was last year charged with sedition under Sections 50 and 51 of the Penal Code. The two sections deal with the publication of articles likely to cause disaffection or hostility towards the head of state or the government. Mokone was charged in connection with an article in which his publication claimed the president was involved in a road traffic accident. The Office of the President strenuously denied the allegation.
Mokone who is represented by attorney Dick Bayford of Bayford and Associates will tomorrow argue that his arrest was unlawful and that Sections 50 and 51 (Sedition) of the Penal Code infringed on his Constitutional rights to freedom of expression.
Mokone’s lawyers will also argue that the Police Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe’s refusal to grant him access to his lawyers while in police custody last year was an infringement of his right to legal representation and access to the courts.
Mokone’s lawyers, Duma Boko and Dick Bayford last year, secured an order from Justice Modiri Letsididi not only freeing him but also restraining the State from pursuing further similar charges or warrants against the editor, while the matter is pending.
“The respondents (Attorney General, Police Commissioner and Gaborone Chief Magistrate) shall not apply for any further warrants of arrest against the applicant based on facts similar in nature to those founding the warrant aforesaid, pending finalisation of this application,” ordered Letsididi. The High Court judge further issued a rule nisi calling upon the respondents to show cause why the arrest warrant against Mokone should not be declared unlawful. The Attorney General, Police Commissioner and Chief Magistrate will also have to show cause why Sections 50 and 51 of the Penal Code should not be ruled as infringing on the constitutional right to freedom of expression. Under the rule nisi, Police Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe will also have to show cause why the refusal to grant Mokone access to his lawyers on Monday and Tuesday morning should not be ruled an infringement of his rights to legal representation. The respondents were given 28 days to file their answering affidavits, while Mokone and his lawyers had another 14 days from that date, for their replying affidavit. “Pending the finalisation of this application, the State shall not institute any criminal proceedings against Mokone based on facts similar in nature to those founding the warrant aforesaid,” Letsididi said.
Boko appeared with attorneys Dick Bayford, Joao Salbany and Mboki Chilisa while acting Attorney General Nchunga Nchunga appeared for the respondents.