The court had to opt for a trial within trial after lawyers involved in the case argued and differed about the issue of pointing out of the body parts that supposedly happened at Lehlohonolo’s home, at Koalabata dongas and at Koalabata primary school where the crown is hellbent that Lehlohonolo voluntarily assisted the police in pointing out and retrieving them while his lawyer denies and said his client never pointed out anything and was instead assaulted by police officers who wanted him to point out what he did not know. While arguing the crown’s case on Tuesday, Senior Counsel Advocate Gareth Leppan told the court that Lehlohonolo voluntarily escorted the police to the pointing out of body parts and helped retrieve them and that police officers did not know where the body parts were hidden.
Advocate Leppan explained that even several Koalabata villagers who were randomly picked and testified before court including the area Chieftainess ‘Makhomo Makoanyane confirmed that Lehlohonolo was with the police and assisted them in pointing out the body parts. He also indicated that Lehlohonolo’s story that he was injected with an unknown substance by Mabote police officers as another form of torture he endured in their hands, is another way he was using to avoid answering incriminating questions and that he was merely trying to shift the court’s focus on the real facts of the case.
Advocate Leppan submitted that crown has made a compelling case which the Scott’s should answer and further appealed to the court never to entertain Lehlohonolo’s injection story as it never happened. On the contrary, Advocate Thulo Hoeane who represents the Scott’s said Lehlohonolo never pointed out anything including body parts either on July 12, 13 or 14, 2012. He explained that police officers who investigated the case and were led by the then Inspector Mphelehetse Khatleli never introduced themselves to Lehlohonolo when they arrested him; never cautioned him and never informed him of his constitutional rights which they were supposed to have done as is required by law.
Advocate Hoeane explained that the crown and police evidence were contradicting as the lead investigator in the case, Khatleli told the court that he personally cautioned Lehlohonolo before arresting him but his colleague by the name of Phuroe who was at close proximity with him when arresting Lehlohonolo said he did not hear him cautioning Lehlohonolo. Another contradicting evidence Advocate Hoeane said is of the area Chieftainess ‘Makhomo Makoanyane who told the court that she was present when the Scott’s house was searched by police officers but she never entered the house and that it contradicts another crown evidence by the police who alleged that the same Chieftainess entered with them in the house when they were doing the search.
With regard to the mystery green Corsa vehicle in which some of the body parts were retrieved and crown alleges belonged to Lehlohonolo, Advocate Hoeane asked the court not to admit that information as credible evidence because the same vehicle was never brought before court as exhibit or even its registration papers showing that it belonged to Lehlohonolo. Over ten crown witnesses have already testified in the main case while for Lehlohonolo, he testified for himself as the first defence witness and was followed by his mother and a Mozambican national who is currently detained at the Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) custody Abelu Natshev who was followed by Lehlohonolo’s brother Rethabile Scott.