Missing investigation diary delays police officer’s ghastly murder trial

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By Itumeleng Koleile

Former Hlotse Police Station commanding officer, Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu, facing murder charges for the gruesome disappearance and killing of his junior, Police Constable Mokalekale Khetheng, demands for an investigation diary today delayed once again the Khetheng murder trial.

Zimbabwean Judge, Justice Charles Hungwe, hired to preside on the sensational case on how police officers turned against one another, went at lengths to conceal Khetheng’s murder in an unmarked grave, giving him a pauper’s funeral together with unclaimed bodies postponed the case.

Hungwe ordered that the case be postponed until the defense lawyers representing Tšukulu and others are furnished with Khetheng’s murder investigation diary.

The ongoing trial was postponed to September 10 as the Crown failed to furnish the defense with the investigation diary.

According to Advocate Karabo Mohau King’s Counsel (KC), appearing on behalf of the first accused Thabo Tšukulu, said his client had previously asked for the investigation diary, however to “our dismay it has not yet been issued”.

Moreover, Mohau pointed that it should be noted that in the previous proceedings, Advocate Christopher Lephuthing appearing for the Crown had said the diary would be given only if it is still available.

Lephuthing had told the court that “some of the documents within the docket are missing”.

Mohau said it is really perplexing as they cannot have access to the diary but also the electronic recording of June 22 is missing.

“The recording only has introductions, and the rest of the information for that particular day is missing.

“It is quite peculiar we are denied access to the investigation diary, which we are still adamant that we really do need to have it,” he said.

Mohau emphasized that it was only when inquiring about the diary that they learned that some of the documents within the docket were missing.

For his part, Mohau said the importance of the electronic recorder is that it is used for reference as it is rather impossible to memorize every detail during the court proceedings.

Putting emphasis on the need for availability of the investigation diary, Advocate Zwelakhe Mda KC said the investigation diary is significant in the due process of the trial and as such, they insist that they are furnished with it.

Ordering the defense counsels be issued the investigation diary, Hungwe said ironing out minor issues like the investigation diary before a trial begins paves way for a smooth trial, as such, minor issues ought to be corrected.

Khetheng was murdered at Ha Mokhalinyane in March 26, 2016 and was buried at Lepereng with unclaimed corpses, while the hunt for his whereabouts continued with his family in and out of court for a Habeas Corpus hearing.

He was later exhumed and given official burial in his home at Seballa, in the district of Mokhotlong.

The first accused in the murder trial is Tšukulu, Mabitle Marina, Haleokoe Taasoane and Mothibeli Mofolo are the second to fourth accused.

The four accused were initially accused together with Lesotho Congress for Democracy’s deputy leader Tšeliso Mokhosi and the former Commissioner of Police Molahlehi Letsoepa. However, the Mokhosi and Letsoepa has since been withdrawn from the case.

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