Soldiers charged with mutiny to apply for discharge

  • 20 December, 2018

Three defence lawyers in a trial in which three soldiers are charged with mutiny that happened in September 2017 have informed the Court Martial that they are going to apply for their discharge.

The lawyers said this on Thursday immediately after the prosecution through Advocate Thulo Hoeane told the court that the state was done leading the evidence of its witnesses and therefore was closing its case.
One of the defence lawyers Advocate Letuka Molati who represents the second accused in the trial, Captain Boiketsiso Fonane, informed the court that they have agreed as defence lawyers that they are going to make the application on a date to be determined by the court and that as part of preparing their arguments, they will need the court to furnish them with transcribed copies of the record of proceedings from the start of the trial.
When responding to Advocate Molati’s request, the court’s Judge Advocate, retired Judge of the High Court of Lesotho Judge Matamzima Winston Maqutu said the defence team was at liberty to make the application as it is within their rights but said with regard to the record of the proceedings of the court, the court cannot avail such to them as they have been attending the trial from the beginning and taking notes on their own. He therefore urged them to use the ones they have.
He explained that trying to prepare the record from scratch while there are other notes that could be used will not be in the interest of justice and will be wasting the court’s time.
Judge Maqutu therefore urged all defence lawyers to immediately start preparing their written heads of arguments and be ready to argue them before court on a date to be agreed upon but after defence lawyers indicated that they will be ready to argue the application on Friday, the court agreed that application be made on Friday.
Other defence lawyers in the trial are Advocates Karabo Mohau KC and Motiea Teele KC who represents the first accused and third accused respectively.
Major Pitso Ramoepane is charged together with Captains Boiketsiso Fonane and Litekanyo Nyakane with mutiny that happened at Ratjomose barracks on September 5, 2017, failure to report it and failure to suppress it.
Captain Nyakane is also charged with possession of multiple firearms and rounds of ammunition which the prosecution alleges he possessed without LDF command.
The trial is before a six member panel comprising, among others, Brigadier Mabote Sekoboto who is the Court’s President.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger