Village Chief Magistrate Linah Mokibe-Oahile on Thursday ruled against an application in which Cybercrime-accused Daniel Kenosi wanted to be released from incarceration pending Police investigations into his alleged crime. Kenosi has been in jail since he appeared before Magistrate Mokibe-Oahile on March 24 following his arrest and subsequent detention at Central Police Station on March 21. He faces charges of unlawful distribution of obscene material contrary to Section 16 of the Cybercrime and Computer Related Crimes Act. Appearing for Kenosi on Thursday, Attorney Lore Morapedi of Lore Morapedi Attorneys argued that the continued detention of Kenosi is unwarranted as it is based on bad faith by the prosecution.
He pleaded with the Court to release Kenosi as there were no grounds for him to interfere with Police investigations since all his electronic gadgets have been confiscated by the Police. “In any case, the Court can issue orders that can prevent him from interfering with the investigations”, Morapedi told the Court. He said the offence that Kenosi has been charged with is relatively minor in as far as the Penal Code of Botswana is concerned as it attracts a maximum fine of P5000 or maximum three months custodial sentence or both.
Morapedi reminded the Court that the Prosecution has only given their continuing investigations as the sole motivation for opposing Kenosi’s bail application and said it was absurd that the Police would want to arrest, detain and investigate, in that order, instead of starting with investigations, followed by arrest and detention. Morapedi averred that even though not absolute, Kenosi as a journalist has the right to freedom of expression which he cannot enjoy while he is in jail. He said Kenosi’s continued detention adversely affects his business operations as he is not able to carry out his obligations to his employees.
Appearing for State, Assistant Superintendent Lentlhabetse Willie made a brief submission and told the Court that they still stand by their initial argument that if given bail, Kenosi will interfere with Police investigations. When giving her ruling, Mokibe-Oahile said the defense’s argument that the offence was minor does not hold water as it sought to imply that minor offences do not deserve thorough investigation.
She said she was denying Kenosi bail because she believed there was nothing stopping him from interfering with investigations by accessing Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp through other devices from the ones already in the custody of the Police.┬á Kenosi, 24, will therefore appear before the same Court on April 10 as per the initial order that was given by Mokibe-Oahile on March 27.