MASERU — A 51-year-old Mafeteng man who was convicted and jailed for rape two years ago on Friday appealed to the High Court to overturn both the conviction and sentence.
Mothonyana Raleting was slapped with a 21-year jail sentence on December 12 2007 after he was convicted of raping three women between September 1 and November 28 2006.
On Friday Raleting urged High Court Judge Maseforo Mahase to nullify his conviction by the Mafeteng Magistrate’s Court.
He argued that he had not been given a chance to defend himself against the rape charges.
Raleting said the Mafeteng Magistrate’s Court had also failed to provide reasons why he was found guilty.
“I request the High Court to find me not guilty and dismiss the judgment of the Mafeteng Magistrate’s Court. The ruling did not give reasons why I was found guilty.
“The magistrate did not take my argument into consideration. I am appealing the judgment because I believe justice was not properly served in this matter,” Raleting said.
But crown counsel Nkoto Rammina said there was overwhelming evidence to prove that Raleting committed the crimes.
“The appellant raped a 17-year-old girl on September 1, 2006, a 25-year-old woman on November 26, 2006 and a 54-year-old (woman) on November 28, 2006.
“He was also charged with theft-by-false-pretenses involving a Nokia cellphone and M20 which belonged to one of his victims. The appellant was convicted on all charges,” Rammina said.
He said the three victims lived in different places adding it was highly improbable that the three women could have conspired to implicate Raleting in crimes he did not commit.
“We are satisfied that the question of identity is clear as one of the witnesses said she knew him very well as they grew up in the same neighbourhood.
“The parade, where the victims identified Raleting was in order and there was an interpreter as the court papers have shown. Appellant was not prejudiced,” Rammina said.
He said Raleting was raising spurious arguments to escape jail.
“The appellant is on a fishing expedition. He is raising arguments which do not hold water,” charged Rammina.
“It is not true that the three women were coached what to say. On the overwhelming evidence we pray that the court upholds or increases the sentence,” he said.
He added that Raleting had been convicted of a heinous crime and seemed to be a serial offender who needed to be locked away for a long time.
“He is a perpetual offender and I urge the court to give him a sentence that will (serve as) a deterrent (for him) in the future,” Rammina said.
He said it was highly improbable that Raleting would be convicted and sentenced without being given reasons.
“He alleges that he was sentenced without appearing before the court and I wonder how that could have happened,” Rammina said.
He said the High Court could, however, still make an order for Raleting to be given reasons for his conviction and sentence.
The court was also told there were minor inconsistencies in the case which could have been “the result of time-lapse”.
But the crown was still adamant that the trial had followed the correct procedures.
Justice Mahase said he would deliver judgment on the matter on June 14.