Monday, September 20, 2021

Slow police investigation of alleged murder case riles lawyer

Murder accused persons, including a police officer, will tomorrow (Monday) hear their bail application judgment in preliminary session, which could throw the Botswana Police Service’s image of performance, at the expense of suspects, into the spotlight.

A police officer, Daniel Itumeleng (26), alongside Ogomoditse Gaolefufa (27) and Wathapelo Itshabeng (25) are accused of having killed their colleague, Letlhabile Mokoto, after a drinking stupor at the beginning of the month.

On Friday, they were refused bail by the police who insisted they still have to record statements from key two witnesses who, curiously it turned out, stay in Gaborone.

Representing Itumeleng, defence attorney, Mooketsi Segaise, lashed at the police prosecuting team for keeping his client long in jail because of their own inefficiency in performing their duties. He called on Broadhurst magistrate, Monashe Ndhlovu, to grant bail to the accused persons, in particular, his client because “the excuse for refusal of bail by the state is unpardonable”.

“Last session, they talked about the on-going investigations and the postmortem and today it is the same thing,” decried Segaise, insisting “my client cannot stay long in prison because of poor work by the police and the completion of postmortem which does not have a bearing on bail application,” he said. “Of importance is whether the accused person would obstruct the wheels and purpose of justice.”

Segaise premised his granting of bail on two principles: that the accused person remains innocent until proven guilty and whether he would be able to attend to court whenever summoned.
Segaise is adamant his client would meet the conditions, calling on the magistrate to take heed of his arguments and grant conditional bail as stipulated in the statutes.

Although he attempted to parry arguments raised by the defence attorney, it became apparent the investigating officer, Lawrence Mokgware, took unnecessary time to conduct his investigations.
Since the incident on 1st February, Mokgware was unable to meet and record statements from two key witnesses who apparently stay in Gaborone, prolonging the investigations at the expense of suspects, who were then subjected to confinement.

Ndhlovu ordered Mokgware to speed up his investigations over the weekend as he would not have time on Monday for another excuse except to deliver his decision.

Itumeleng, Gaolefufa and Itshabeng are accused of having pushed Mokoto from a moving vehicle they were driving, causing his death.

They deny the charges.

While the police suspect foul play, the accused persons insist Mokoto accidentally fell from the vehicle.

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