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Nurses’ suspected killer denied bail



Bloody-knifeTefo Tefo

The High Court on Thursday refused to grant bail to double-murder suspect, Setsokotsane Majalle.

Majalle (21) from Ha-Lekhobanyane in Mazenod was arrested on 19 October 2014 for allegedly killing two nurses, Mpho Khutšoane and ‘Mathebane Ramataboe, in Thaba-Bosiu.

The alleged murder took place on 12 August and Majalle made his first court appearance on 21 October where he was charged with two counts of murder and one of robbery. The court informed the suspect of his privileges, which  included the right to bail and legal representation for his trial.

Majalle subsequently filed his bail-application before the High Court on 3 November through his lawyer Advocate Khosi Lesuthu.

However, High Court judge, Justice ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane, on Thursday refused to grant him his request after considering submissions made by Crown counsel Advocate Lehlanako Mofilikoane that Majalle and his escaped co-accused meticulously planned the brutal killings. Khutšoane  and Ramataboe were  brutally killed on their way from attending a workshop in Thaba-Bosiu. Their battered bodies were found in a donga in Ha-Mosalla in the Thaba-Bosiu area.

In his ruling, Justice Hlajoane said it was not in the interest of justice to release Majalle as he could be tempted to flee.

“Considering the seriousness of the charges and possible sentence in the event of conviction, the court is of the strong feeling that the interests of justice would be compromised if the applicant is released on bail.

“The applicant (Majalle) has failed to show that it would be in the interest of justice to release him. His allocation is dismissed,” Justice Hlajoane ruled.

“Counsel has information that the applicant and his friend planned what they are being charged for.

“They were in Bloemfontein when they made the plan and came to Lesotho specifically to accomplish that mission.

“It has been said for the applicant (by his lawyer Advocate Lesuthu) that he even took the police to Bloemfontein and showed them the house of the suspect.

“This has been denied by counsel for the respondent.

“Instead, she mentioned that the applicant only took them to the scene of crime in Thaba-Bosiu area. He never took them to Bloemfontein.”

Justice Hlajoane also said she considered submissions made by Advocate Mofilikoane that the public wanted to see the nurses’ killers punished.

“Counsel showed that the public is very much highly interested in this case. They want the perpetrators dealt with in accordance with the law.

“They want justice to be done in this case like in all other cases as serious and shocking as this one,” she said.

Meanwhile, Majalle had suggested to be released on condition he paid M500 bail and reported himself at Mazenod Police Station on the day of his remand.

But after the judge shot down his application, Majalle would remain in prison until the case, whose hearing dates have not yet been set, is finalised.

The charges read in part: “The said accused is charged with contravening provisions of section 40 (1) read with section 109 of the Penal Code Act of 2010, in that upon or about 12th August 2014 and at or near Thaba-Bosiu, Ha-Mosalla in the district of Maseru, the said accused did unlawfully and intentionally assault one Mpho Khutšoane by hitting her with a stone all over the body and inflicting upon her, serious injuries which later caused her death right on the spot.”

Count two relates to the death of Ramataboe, and reads the same as Count One, relating to Khutšoane.

The third count concerns Majalle’s threat of violence as he robbed Khutšoane of her VW Golf vehicle.

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