MASERU – THE besieged Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli who faces contempt of court charges in the High Court was this week given a reprieve by Justice Tšeliso Mokoko to secure his private lawyer to represent him.
March 30, 2023
3 min read
Molibeli gets another reprieve
Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli
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This, after Molibeli who had been ordered last week Friday to appear in court on Monday to explain why he could not be jailed for contempt, showed up in court without legal counsel.
Justice Mokoko gave the police chief until Monday next week to find his lawyer for the case to proceed, failing which, Molibeli would stand trial with no legal representation.
Advocate Mafefooane Moshoeshoe from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s office told the court this week that the law office would no longer represent Molibeli after he was granted permission by the Attorney General to engage his lawyer.
Pleading for a postponement on behalf of Molibeli, Moshoeshoe told the court that the Attorney General only gave the boss chief the green light to secure his legal counsel late on Friday afternoon.
He said consequently, Molibeli did not get sufficient time to seek a lawyer over the weekend for the Monday proceedings.
In June 2022, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Beleme Lebajoa applied to the High Court to interdict Molibeli by transferring him from his Criminal Investigation Division (COD) office to the Finance and Infrastructure Division (FID) and depriving him of his bodyguards.
But the court later ordered Molibeli to reinstate Lebajoa in his office and restore his bodyguards, directives that Molibeli failed to heed.
Thereafter, Lebajoa’s lawyers, King’s Counsel (KC) Salemane Phafane and Advocate Rethabile Setlojoane approached the court, asking for Molibeli’s incarceration for contempt of court.
“It is against this background that I pray that the matter be postponed so that the Commissioner may be able to bring a legal representative of his choice before the court,” Moshoeshoe said this week.
But Setlojoane opposed the rescheduling, arguing that Molibeli always made excuses to delay proceedings.
“The Commissioner does not have to seek the permission of the Attorney General to engage a private lawyer to represent him in this kind of proceedings. The order was granted last Monday, yet we are told that the authority was granted on Friday,” he said, contending that Molibeli was not taking the court seriously.
“I don’t see why the matter cannot proceed now as the Commissioner is here before the court.”
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He said the further postponement of the trial would only add unnecessary costs to his client.
However, the court ruled in Molibeli’s favour as it gave him until Monday next week to bring his lawyer to court.
“The matter shall, however, proceed with or without your lawyer, Justice Mokoko told Molibeli.
For his part, Phafane said although the court finally gave Molibeli until next Monday to secure private counsel, they (Lebajoa’s lawyers) spent the previous week pleading with the court to incarcerate the police chief.
“Therefore, it will be unfortunate that our client will have to suffer the application cost owing to the postponement, which came at the 11th hour,” he said.
In his ruling, Justice Mokoko instructed Molibeli to bear the legal costs for the day.