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Try the Thabanes fast, court told

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Mohloai Mpesi

The former first couple of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his wife and First Lady ‘Ma-Isaiah Thabane, as they then were, are ready for a speedy trial in their murder and attempted murder case so that they can move on with their political life.

This was revealed before the high court by defence counsel for the second accused and former Premier Attorney Qhalehang Letsika, who implored the court to speedily try his client in order to allow the duo enough time to politically prepare for the upcoming general elections set for later this year.

The couple is charged for allegedly killing Thabane’s other estranged wife Lipolelo Thabane on June 14, 2017 which was the eve of Thabane’s commemoration for a second term as the Premier of a four party coalition government at the back of the general elections that had been held on June 03, 2017, as well as the attempted murder of Thato Sibolla who was with the deceased hence also sustained but survived gunshot wounds.

Letsika told the court before Justice Molefi Makara yesterday that he along with advocate Salemane Phafane KC-appearing for the former First Lady- is ready to drive the case to finality before the elections.    

Meanwhile, the Director of Prosecution Public Prosecutions (DPP) Hlalefang Motinyane tightened screws on the matter by increasing the prosecution team roping-in another South African Senior Counsel Advocate Gareth Leppan to battle the matter.

“These two people are politicians and that’s the only thing that they know-nothing else. They have to be contesting and want this matter to be dealt with and clouds to be cleared so that they can enjoy their political lives.   

“My client is not a young man at all; he would want this case to be dealt with as soon as yesterday. We will make it easy for his Lordship to deal with this matter and adjudicate over this matter,” Letsika said, adding that even Ma-Isaiah similarly is not a young lady although she may look young, promising the court that they are going the deal with the case timeously to help Justice Makara to quickly hand down the verdict that will determine the couple’s fate.

“90 percent of the evidence will do admissions in terms of section 273 and apart from that we will be left with three or four witnesses to deal with and that will require me hardly two days and I am sure I am not overzealous in that regard.

“Since here we are dealing with the matter of murder involving husband and wife I think advocate Leppan would also elucidate this picture or share his technical view and how that could be approached.

“Suffice to emphasise that, I am seeking to impress it upon you to attach much significance. The impression I gathered from the charge is that it is not indicated as to who actually pulled the trigger and nevertheless that is not the end of the matter.

“Addressing my mind in particular to A2 (Thabane) there is a suggestion that the only connecting aspect is that Thabane’s cellphone had been used in some communication which had some consequential relationship with the offence. That’s the only nexus which could perhaps be explained further by some circumstantial evidence but principally that appears to be the nexus,” he said.

Meanwhile, advocate Leppan concurred with the duo that the case needs to be tried quickly as “…It is the intention of all counsel involved to get together and reduce this matter to its various terms and to the actual issues at stake…

“We will prepare a document for your Lordship which will set-out what we intend to do. As I understand, your Lordship wants the matter to start and finish rather than have adjournments.

“We are indebted to your lordship according to the issues that you have highlighted which we will certainly debate at the pretrial so that we come up with the common approach regarding the evidence,” he said.

The matter will continue where it is expected to run for six consecutive days from July 26, 2022.

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