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Khetheng murder suspects reject lawyer

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Mohloai Mpesi

Three of the four murder suspects in the Mokalekale Khetheng’s case have rejected a lawyer chosen by the state to represent them in the trial.

The trio; Mothibeli Mofolo, Mabitle Matona and Haleokoe Taasoane who are accused alongside Thabo Tsukulu and the former Police Commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa refused to be represented by a state appointed lawyer, Thulo Hoeane in their murder case that has been set for trial from next week May 5-7 2021 and 18 to 21, 2021, citing that they initially knew advocate Zwelakhe Mda, as their representative.   

Justice Charles Hungwe who is presiding over the case stated that Hoeane will have to be physically present during the trial to watch brief the proceedings in case advocate Mda does not turn up.  

“The accused say that they know advocate Mda as their representative and they cannot agree to be represented by anyone besides him. So it means that I am out of the picture. However, I was told that Mda has withdrawn from the matter,” Hoeane said.

“Three of them are insisting on a representation of advocate Mda but if he does not turn up on the next court day then they will take it from then, they are being noncommittal about everything,” he said.

For his part Justice Hungwe said that if the accused persons don’t like to be represented by Advocate Hoeane then he may not have to represent them, although “advocate Mda is indisposed. So you have to tell them that you have been appointed by council, they may not want you to represent them but the consequence is that you don’t have to if they don’t like you,” Hungwe told Hoeane.

“But you have to sit in court and listen to them conducting their own case if Mda doesn’t turn up and in case they change their minds,” he continued.

The Crown counsel, Shaun Abrahams echoed the judge’s sentiments that Hoeane should attend the hearing fully prepared to take the stance in case Mda does not show up to represent the accused.

“My understanding is that Mr Hoeane is not off the hook yet, he will be here on the next date readily prepared for trial to represent the accused, but if they don’t want him, he will remain in the watching brief until such time when the position changes,” he said.

The first accused TÅ¡ukulu will be represented by one advocate Lesutu.

The case which is likely to be a marathon, will see over 50 witnesses take the stand including names such as former Police Minister and Alliance of Democrats (AD) Leader Monyane Moleleki and the former army commander Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli.  

Khetheng was a police constable of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS), who was at the time of his dramatic disappearance and subsequent demise, the subject of a number of arson cases. He had been arrested in Hlotse in the March of 2016 before he went missing, never to be found until a body identified as his was exhumed at a paupers’ mass grave a year later.

He was allegedly cold bloodedly murdered and his body dumped by a river in Ha Mokhalinyane, before being kept at the Lesotho Funeral Service as unknown and later buried at a paupers’ funeral in a mass grave at the Lepereng graveyard and then exhumed when police investigations pointed thither.

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