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Bombing suspects want to be tried by a magistrate

Former army chief Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli

June 11, 2021 2 min read

2 min read

THE five soldiers who face a battery of charges including attempted murder and the 2014 bomb attacks on three residences in Maseru have pleaded non-jurisdiction after the charges were read to them on Thursday.

The accused include former army boss Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli, Litekanyo Nyakane, Malefane Heqoa, Mohlalefi Seitlheko and Pitso Ramoepana.

They are accused of multiple charges including aggravated assault, attempted murder, risk of injury or death and damage to property.

Kamoli faces additional charges including defeating ends of justice and issuing illegal superior orders.
All accused contend that the court lacks jurisdiction over the trial and all their legal representatives confirmed that their pleas are in accordance with their instructions.
The defense lawyers argued that there are no reasons why the trial is before the High Court and not the Magistrate’s Court.

They said the case belongs to the subordinate court; therefore it should be remitted to the Maseru Magistrate’s Court.
Advocate Letuka Molati said the law states that unless the charge is sedition, murder or treason, the case should be dealt with by a magistrate.

He submitted that an objection on grounds of jurisdiction is important, therefore it cannot be overshadowed by the desire to have the matter heard by the High Court.

King’s Counsel Karabo Mohau argued that when the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided to indict the accused in the High Court, reasons should have been provided.

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The accused he said are entitled to know why the case is not before a magistrate.

The other defence lawyers include Adv Napo Mafaesa and KC Hopolang Nathane.

Senior Counsel Shaun Abrahams who represents the Crown said the onus is on the accused to prove why the court does not have jurisdiction to try them.

The accused are alleged to have acted together with the late Tefo Hashatsi to bomb the residences of Liabiloe Ramoholi, 'Mamoletsane Moletsane and Khothatso Tšooana. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in Moshoeshoe II and Ha Abia in January 2014.
The case is before Justice Charles Hungwe. LeNA

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