Following another shallow showing by the prosecution in delivering convincing evidence, the Deputy Police Commissioner (DPC) Paseka Mokete has been acquitted off sexual assault charges.
Magistrate Peter Murezi ruled that the evidence brought by the prosecution which was led by Advocate Motene Rafoneke in the matter was not sufficient to sustain the case.
This came after the defendant (Mokete) who was presented by advocate Monaheng Seeiso Rasekoai and Advocate Kuili Ndebele filed a discharge application on March 26, 2022 after the prosecution had exhausted all its evidence, arguing that none of the witnesses explored the question of intention to apply force to the complainant, Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA) Deputy Secretary General, Inspector â€˜Makatleho Mphetho.
Mokete further argued that the case was only intended to smudge his name as there was no intention to touch her buttocks while trying to retrieve a letter of her â€œtermination of membership of LEPOSAâ€ resultantly tearing off Mphethoâ€™s belt-loop and pocket-buttons from her police uniform pants.
Murenzi however, pointed out that none of the witnesses in the case before court testified to the use of force except the complainant who later went to see a medical doctor whose testimony also did not establish the use of force. He said the admitted statements of the two eyewitnesses were tainted during the complainantâ€™s cross-examination that they did not do much for the crownâ€™s case.
â€œIt must be noted that it is quite unusual that for a seasoned police officer (Mphetho) who is knowledgeable about the law and the seriousness of the vile act/offence committed against her to have concealed the truth to the eyewitness.
â€œThe complainant, for instance, when asked about the altercation she responded that it was work issues. This fact cast a shadow over the accusedâ€™s intention, (mens rea) is one of the essential requirements that must be proved for the charges brought against the accused to hold,â€ he said.
Mphetho complained that Mokete sexually assaulted and manhandled her in the morning hours of April 30, 2020 at the National Assembly grounds, thus amounting to Mokete facing three counts; sexual assault, physical assault and malicious damage to property to which a plea of not guilty was entered.
â€œWith regard to malicious damage to property, it is alleged that the trouser worn by the complainant was torn as a result of altercation between her and the accused, although after the mishap, she resumed with her work as usual and concealed it to the onlookers and when the parliament adjourned she went to the police to report the incident.
â€œThe extent of damage and how she walked around with ripped trousers for the whole day was not made clear to the court. The other issue brought to the courtâ€™s attention is that the exhibit (torn trouser) might have been tempered with seeing that PW2 who seized it to give a clear picture of how, when and where the exhibit was kept and why it took so long to hand over to the police.
â€œThe court is thus not satisfied that the evidence advanced might secure a conviction against the accused. It is not necessary to drag the accused to put his defence when no prima facie case is made. The application for discharge is therefore granted in favour of the accused. He is thus discharged and acquitted,â€ he handed down the ruling.