Three crown witnesses in the murder case of five soldiers were involved in a car accident at the eve of trial on Tuesday.
The news was shared by the crown council Mosoeunyane Masiphole who told the court that the accident had happened as the witnesses made their way from Mafeteng to Maseru to attend trial proceedings the following day.
Masiphole indicated that he had eight to ten witnesses to testify in the case but had prepared only three people to give testimonies this week.
â€œYesterday I demonstrated to the court that the crown witnesses in respect of this matter were on their way here from Mafeteng. They were not travelling in a motor vehicle of their own. I confirm I was reluctant to keep the court waiting for the crown witnesses to come over here and proceed with the matter.
â€œI made a humble submission that this matter should continue today with the hope that they would come as arranged. I indicated to the court that I called one of them and he said that he was on his way here. Yesterday I waited for them until late in the afternoon when I knocked off from work, they had still not come.
â€œNot only that, I took the trouble to call them on their phones and their phones were no longer reachable until it was late in the night I could not find them on their phones,â€ he said.
He continued that, â€œIt was only this morning between 6 and 7 am when I received a message on my phone from somebody I do not know who informed me that he was just passing the message from the same particular witnesses who were supposed to be here yesterday, that on their way to here, the car in which they were travelling had an accident.
â€œThe person who called me did not give me the finer details of what he meant by saying the car had a problem. I just assumed that they had had an accident because he even said they had to go for medical attention, so they did not finally arrive here yesterday.
â€œUnder the prevailing circumstances, where the three witnesses from Mafeteng were supposed to come yesterday but failed for the reasons here above. Since we arranged those three witnesses for the purposes of proceeding with the matter, we are not able to proceed.
â€œSince I have been given the impression that they are still alive, just that they have to do medical attention as a result, subsequent to whatever that happened to them which was not explained to me.
â€œI find it being incumbent upon me to have this matter postponed to April 13, 2021 because as the crown council in this matter, it is upon me to travel to that place to meet with crown witnesses in order to ascertain whether they will be able, in the circumstances to appear before court on April 13.
â€œIn the interim as this happens the accused are here and have been listening to the submissions I made so that on the 13th depending on the circumstances to which the witnesses will be, then we will be able to proceed.
â€œOver and above that, like I indicated to the court that those three witnesses were not the only witnesses in this matter, there are other witnesses, but for purposes of proceeding with this matter, I had prepared those witnesses from Mafeteng. In the event where those in Mafeteng would not be fit and proper to proceed with the matter on April 13, I have time to make arrangements for the other witnesses.