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Feb. 8, 2022

OWN CORRESPONDENT

2 min read

Accused soldier drops court application

Accused soldier drops court application

Justice Moroke Mokhesi

Story highlights

  • Major Ramoepane had initially insisted he had been wrongly indicted
  • An investigation into whether or not the charges were read to the accused was conducted by the court

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ONE of the 10 accused members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) charged with multiple offences including murder, Major Pitso Ramoepane on Thursday last week abandoned an application challenging his inclusion in the case.

Ramoepane had initially insisted he had been wrongly indicted as the charges were never read to him in preparation for the trial, adding the High Court did not have jurisdiction to try him.
An investigation into whether or not the charges were read to the accused was conducted by the court with the Assistant Registrar of the High Court, Advocate Stafford Sharite called to the stand to testify in the presence of the accused.

However, a record showing the handwriting of the late Judge ’Maseshophe Hlajoane was found and indicated that the charges were read to Ramoepane on March 26, 2018 against the background that there was no such record.

Following the availability of the court record and in consultation with Ramoepane’s lawyer, King’s Counsel (KC) Karabo Mohau, the investigations have since been dropped and the case changed from no jurisdiction to try to not guilty.

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According to the charge sheet, all the accused allegedly acted in concert and in furtherance of a common purpose, and strangled Lekhoele Noko, Khothatso Makibinyane and Molise Pakela to death during incidents that happened at the Setibing Military Base on the outskirts of Maseru on May 16, 2017.

They allegedly dumped the deceased's bodies in the Mohale Dam afterwards.
The other charges against the 10 soldiers include conspiracy to murder, unlawful detention and issuing superior orders to unlawful detention as well as to kill.
The case continues before Judge Moroke Mokhesi. LeNA

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