Lobatse High Court acting judge, Gabriel Rwelengera, last Thursday postponed to August 26 the sentencing of members of Botswana Defence Force and some Special Constables who were last year convicted of having forced some Zimbabwean immigrants to have sex while they watched.
This followed after one of the lawyers representing the accused persons failed to turn up because of family problems.
The convicts in this matter are Samuel Seshabo, Thato Bojosi, Moagi Sampson, Sydney Ntope and Diphetogo Gaabakobo.
They were convicted by the current Serowe Magistrate, Monashe Ndlovu, while two others were acquitted as the Magistrate said that there was no evidence that they had committed the crimes they were charged with.
After their conviction, the Magistrate said that he was convinced that the crime of forcing people to take part in group sex warranted more than 10 years imprisonment, adding that the laws of the country allow him to send the case to the High Court for sentencing.
This had at the time angered the convicts’ friends and relatives as they said the Magistrate should have sentenced them to allow them to appeal. They even threatened that they would go to the Office of the President over the issue. That did not happen.
Rwelengera recently granted the suspects bail pending appeal.
The crime took place whilst the convicts were patrolling around Ramotswa village at night in 2007.The victims were apparently housed in several houses in the village.
The story made headlines both in Botswana and Zimbabwe where the accused were strongly condemned for their barbaric acts. The convicts have been automatically dismissed from work following their convictions. This has been confirmed by the Botswana Police Service Public Relations Officer, Senior Superintendent Christopher Mbulawa, who, after the conviction, also said that the conviction was a lesson to all those who were harbouring such ill intentions.