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Murder case now ‘trial within trial’

Nat Molomo

 

MASERU — One of the three men accused of murdering a fellow villager six years ago has denied taking police officers to Mohokare River where the deceased’s body was later retrieved on September 1 2004.

Toka Nkaka of Sekamaneng in Berea district was on Thursday giving evidence in the High Court before Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi in what has become a “trial within a trial” because he alleges he was tortured while in police custody.

Nkaka is jointly charged with Thabo Letsie for the murder of Utloang Moholisa who was reported missing on August 28 2004.

The third suspect, Hlomelang Lebabo, has since died.

During the trial Nkaka denied police claims that he confessed to killing Moholisa and pointed out where he had allegedly buried the body.

“It is not true that I volunteered to lead the police to Mohokare where the deceased’s body was found,” Nkaka told the court.

“The police are also not telling the truth by saying they did not assault me when I was arrested.”

Nkaka told the court he and Lebabo were arrested at a Maseru taxi rank on September 1 2004 and then allegedly subjected to severe torture at Mabote Police Station.

Nkaka said he was aboard a Sekamaneng-bound taxi when two police officers, only identified in court as Maphallela and Fosa, ordered him out of the vehicle.

“They asked me to identify myself and the officers then ordered me into their van,” Nkaka said.

As the police van was pulling out of the rank, Nkaka told the court, “someone” told the police Lebabo was also on the same Sekamaneng-bound taxi.

“A police inspector by the name Mosili then went to get Lebabo,” Nkaka said.

“As the car was leaving the taxi rank Mosili, who was also in the van, pointed a gun at me saying I would tell them the truth.”

Nkaka said at the station they were searched and Lebabo was found with a firearm.

“We were then taken into different rooms,” he said.

“Two officers came with me while Mosili went with Lebabo.

“Fosa and Maphallela assaulted me demanding to know where Utloang was.”

Nkaka said despite pleading his innocence the two policemen allegedly continued assaulting him.

“After about 30 minutes, Mosili came into the room to inquire about the outcome of the interrogation,” he said. 

“They told him I was refusing to talk.

“Mosili then invited them along, saying Lebabo had talked. 

“As we drove away from the police station to Mohokare River, both me and Lebabo had our legs bound to the van.”

When they arrived at Mohokare River, Nkaka said he was ordered by Mosili to “point out the spot”.

“When I replied that I had no idea what he was talking about, they again started assaulting me,” Nkaka said.

He said eventually the deceased’s body was discovered at the spot his co-accused, Lebabo, had allegedly pointed out to the policemen.

Because of the torture allegations the defence has asked the court to hold a trial within the trial to determine whether the evidence which may have been allegedly obtained through force by the police would be admissible.

Trial continues.

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