Africa-Press – Lesotho. The Registrar of the Court of Appeal and High Court Advocate ‘Mathato Sekoai says the High Court saw a success during the criminal session that ran from February to April this year.
This she said yesterday. The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) had in February engaged three Judges to temporarily help clear the backlog of the criminal cases in the High Court. The acting judges were retired High Court judge Justice Semapo Peete, Advocate Tšabo Matooane King’s Counsel (KC) and Quthing Resident Magistrate
Palesa Rantara. They were allocated to hear 35 criminal cases in these three months. Advocate Sekoai reported that out of the 35 criminal cases, 19 were completed,
three are part-heard and are expected to be disposed of during the High Court winter vacation. The remaining 13 cases will be allocated to the substantial
Judges of the High Court. “As members of the society, you are aware that this country is gripped by a lot of homicide, murder cases some of which are in the process of being
investigated and some of which have been pending for a long time before the courts of law principally on account of the fact that our judiciary doesn’t
have enough judges to handle murder cases,” this the Chief Justice (CJ) Sakoane Sakoane said during the swearing-in of these Judges. The Registrar revealed that in a year, the High Court would dispose of
about 10 criminal cases but these acting Judicial Officers were able to complete 19 cases, saying this is a success. She attributed this success to the dedication of the office of the
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the Police, and the Lawyers who were engaged in these cases. Going forward, she mentioned that the Judiciary will
hold talks over the handling of the criminal cases and those stakeholders that will form part of the deliberations are the DPP, Police, the Law Society and
Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS). Also, she said the performance was affected by over a week-long power cut at the High Court over the utility’s unpaid bill.
One of the cases that was highly publicised during the session is a murder case involving prominent tycoon Tšeliso Nthane, who was charged of murder of his employee.
He was acquitted for lack of evidence that incriminates him. On other developments, today saw the swearing-in of seven new members of the High Court following their successful performance at the JSC interviews.
They are Tšeliso Mokoko, ‘Makampong Gugu Mokhoro, Hopolang Nathane, ‘Mabatšoeneng Hlaele, Moneuoa Kopo, ‘Mafelile Patriacia Ralebese and ‘Maliepollo Makhetha.
The Registrar said the two will be posted at the Northern Region Division of the High Court Tšifa-li-Mali, Leribe, four will join the Maseru High Court bench while one will go to the Commercial Division of the High
Court. Northern Region Division of the High Court’s Deputy Registrar Advocate Pontšo Phafoli said it will be opened “soon” once the power has been restored as it defaulted in paying the electricity bill.