25 August 2017

Lesotho: Bail Hearing for Khetheng Murder Accused

THE prosecution has until tomorrow to oppose the bail application by one of the suspects in the murder case of Police Constable (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng.

High Court judge, Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo, on Monday ordered the prosecution to file its papers opposing the bail application of Senior Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu after the latter's lawyer, King's Counsel Karabo Mohau, told the court that the prosecution had informed him that they would oppose the application by his client in connection with the death of PC Khetheng.

SSP Tšukulu (51) of 'Malere Matelile Ha Qaba in the Mafeteng district, Senior Inspector, Mabitle Matona (39) of Butha-Buthe, Ha Nqabeni, Sub Inspector Haleokoe Taasoane (44) of Liphofung Mokhotlong and Inspector Mothibeli Mofolo (49) first appeared before the Magistrate's Court on 8 August, 2017 to face charges of murdering PC Khetheng in March 2016.

PC Khetheng was stationed in Mokhotlong and he was last seen being arrested by his colleagues at a traditional feast in Sebothoane, Leribe on 26 March 2016.

This prompted his father, Thabo Khetheng, to lodge an application before the High Court on 18 July 2016 for the police authorities to produce him dead or alive.

He was allegedly last seen with Inspector Mofolo, PC Ntoane, PC 'Mabohlokoa Makotoko and Senior Inspector Matona.

The LMPS had argued that PC Khetheng had left the Hlotse police station without permission and they did not know where he was. For its part, the Khetheng family argued that the police should know where he was because they arrested him.

A body believed to be that of PC Khetheng was exhumed at Lepereng Cemetery in the Maseru district on 11 August this year after the police were granted a court order by the Magistrate's Court in light of the ongoing investigations into his disappearance and suspected murder.

SSP Tšukulu (51), the Hlotse Police Station Commander was subsequently arrested and charged along with the other three police officers with PC Khetheng's murder.

They were remanded in custody by Chief Magistrate 'Matankiso Nthunya who advised them to apply for bail at the High Court.

They all applied for bail but in a new turn of events on Monday, they withdrew their bail applications except for SSP Tšukulu.

After Justice Nomngcongo was informed of the prosecution's intention to oppose SSP Tšukulu's bail application he ordered the prosecution to file its opposing papers by tomorrow.

"The prosecution is ordered to file its papers by Friday and the matter is postponed to 28 August, 2017 for mention," Justice Nomngcongo ruled.

This means that the judge who will preside over SSP Tšukulu's bail application will on Monday set the date on which the application will be argued.

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