Motinyane wants Chief Justice to step-aside from Treason Trial

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By Itumeleng Koleile

The Director of Public Prosecutions Hlalefang Motinyane wants Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane to recuse himself from treason trial for alleged conduct that she says does not instill confidence that Chief Justice will be impartial.

Yesterday, Advocate Motene Rafoneke told the court that he met with the Director of Public Prosecution Hlalefang Motinyane, advocate ‘Naki Nku, and other legal team members and was instructed to file an application for recusal of the Chief Justice from the case.

Advocate Motinyane wants Justice Sakoane to recuse himself from the case following yesterday’s unusual inquiry by the court into whether the Director of Public Prosecutions had misled the court in claiming that foreign lawyer Shawn Abrahams retained as lead prosecutor in the treason trial is tight up in another matter in South Africa and cannot show up for trial in Lesotho from 10th to 17th January.

The inquiry saw Motinyane taking the witness stand as well as Advocate Abrahams on his failure to appear before the court, ending with them conflicting with one another and prompting Sakoane to inform Abrahams his role as the lead prosecutor is rejected.

Rafoneke, after the inquiry told the court “Consequent to what happened earlier, we are filing for recusal of Chief Justice on the matter”.

Rejection of Abrahams as the lead prosecutor is consequent to an inquiry that Sakoane made in terms of Speedy Court Trials Act of 2002 as he [Sakoane] accused Motinyane of perjury.

The Chief Justice said the crown can file its application for his recusal today while arguments on the matter will be tomorrow.

KDNews understands that the Director of Public Prosecutions holds a view that the expected and most anticipated impartiality and independence of the Court in the administration of justice in the treason trial have gravely been tainted by the conduct of the chief justice.

Furthermore, KDNews understands that Motinyane also believes that even “a reasonable bystander watching the developments in this matter unfolding as aforesaid, can easily come to a conclusion that His Lordship presiding might be biased against the Crown and will not bring an impartial mind to bear on the adjudication of the trial of the accused”.

KDNews understands that Motinyane further holds a view that the Chief justice conduct makes her believe he will be baised against the Crown in the Treason Trial.

Sakoane said if however, the application for his recusal is not granted, he expects both parties to be in court on Thursday to argue the motion to quash the indictment.

Sakoane did not only agree to the filing of an application but also, released the witnesses who have been attending court sessions since the 10th January.

He said the crown should look into the issue of the 98 witnesses that they ought to be present only on the days they have been told by the crown that they should be available.

The Director of Public Prosecutions raises her accusations against the Chief justice and demands recusal on the day set for arguments from both parties on the motion to quash the charges against the leader of the Movement for Economic Change, Selibe Mochoboroane, and former army commander Lieutenant general Tlali Kamoli and three other soldiers.

They are accused with the leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, Mothejoa Metsing, who is in contempt of court for missing his appearances in court, which resulted in Sakoane issuing his warrant of arrest.