I was not properly joined – Ramoepana

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By Itumeleng Koleile

Major Pitso Ramoepana’s lawyer advocate Karabo Mohau KC told the court today that his client was never joined formally on charges of murder that was allegedly committed at Mohale Dam by members of the Lesotho Defence Force in 2017.

Ramoepana together with nine other soldiers is charged with the murder of three middle-aged men whom they allegedly murdered on the 26th May 2017 then disposed of their bodies in Mohale Dam.

Mohau KC told the court that he had previously tendered a plea, stating that he was never charged before the magistrate court nor was, he ever properly joined to the co-accused persons.

He added that the prosecution was formally served, however, advocate Shaun Abrahams told the court that he has never seen such an application.

Abrahams told the court that despite the fact that he had never seen the plea of jurisdiction before, Ramoepana’s Counsel ought to have served them earlier and not on the day the trial was set to commence.

“We do not want to delay this matter any further. The defense should have served us earlier and not today so as not to delay the trial,” Abrahams said.

He was making reference to Mohau KC having told the court that he had no problem serving the crown Counsel once more.

After having the indictment read, the ten soldiers who are accused of murder: Rapele Mphaki, Pitso Ramoepana, Lekhooa Moepi, Mahlele Moeletsi, Mahlomola Makhoali, Nthatakane Motanyane, Motšoane Machai, Liphapang Sefako, Nemase Faso, and Tieho Tokiso were told to plead.

All the accused pleaded not guilty while Ramoepana told the court that it had no jurisdiction.

The presiding judge, Justice Moroke Mokhesi told the court that the parties should prepare for arguments tomorrow.

“It is possible that there was never a formal joinder,” he said.

The ten men are charged with the murder of Lekhoele Noko, Molise Pakela, and Khothatso Makibinyane.

The trial was set to be heard for the month of February.

Ramoepane’s argument could see the case being delayed further as it deals with his argument of having been improperly brought before the court.

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