JUSTICE ’Maseforo Mahase has postponed the sentencing of killer photographer, Habofanoe Ntsie, to 14 November 2022.
This after Ntsie on Friday filed an application arguing that his extradition from South Africa in March this year was unlawful. He therefore, wants the court to halt his sentencing.
Ntsie disappeared on 26 March 2012 while Justice Mahase was reading his judgement after convicting him of the double murder of Habaka Mahao and Souru Masupha in 2004 at Lancers’ Gap, Sehlabeng sa Thuathe, Maseru.
Ntsie’s pro deo lawyer, Raboletsi Makara, said his client had given him instructions to file an application to stop his sentencing citing that his extradition was illegal.
Adv Makara argued that the first application failed and the warrant of arrest was cancelled. The second application used the same warrant which was cancelled. The extradition was therefore unlawful, he submitted.
However, crown counsel, Adv Mofilikoane opposed the application.
He said Ntsie had all the time to raise this but he did not.
Adv Mofilikoane accused Ntsie of buying time to delay his sentencing.
“My Lady, although the accused has a right to file this application, this is nothing but delaying tactics because he knows that all procedures regarding his extradition were followed.
“He also had all the time from 2019 when the order was made until March 2022 to have raised such concerns but he didn’t so. What he is doing now is just a waste of the court’s time. He has already being found guilty and what we are waiting for now is just his mitigation and sentencing,” said Adv Mofilikoane.
Adv Makara had earlier asked Justice Mahase for time to consult with Ntsie as his new lawyer.
However, when the matter resumed after 3pm, Adv Makara informed the court that he did not finish going through the consultation. He then asked for a postponement to give him enough time to go through Justice Mahase’s judgement.
“My Lady, unfortunately we were not able to finish our consultation. I also didn’t manage to go through the entire judgement. I humbly ask that the matter be postponed to give me enough time to go through the judgement,” he said.
Justice Mahase then postponed the matter to 14 November.
She instructed the counsels to submit their written submissions on the matter.
“The matter is postponed to 14 November.
“The court will hear both your submissions on the matter. In the meantime, you should exchange your written submissions.
“I am prepared to proceeding with the case uninterrupted. I am willing to clear off all the cases before me until we are done with this matter,” said Justice Mahase.
Ntsie was arrested in March this year after 10 years on the run and brought back to the country with the help of International Police (Interpol).
He had disappeared while Judge Mahase was reading her judgement.
His wife claimed that her husband had fallen ill during the lunch break hence he could not return to court. Justice Mahase immediately issued a warrant of his arrest. However, Ntsie’s then lawyer, Haae Phoofolo, handed in a doctor’s sick note on behalf of his client.
Later, when the case resumed, Adv Phoofolo told the court that he had failed to find his client after a breakdown of communication between them. Ntsie was nonetheless convicted in absentia. The judge did not sentence him after his escape.
When Ntsie appeared in court last month for sentencing, he asked for permission to get a new lawyer after he had asked Adv Phoofolo to recuse himself.
He failed to get one until the court appointed Adv Makara to present him.