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Phafane, Motinyane’s legal battle continues

Moorosi Tsiane

PROMINENT Lawyer, Advocate Salemane Phafane KC, has dared the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Hlalefang Motinyane, to “jump into the witness box and be cross-examined instead of giving evidence from the bar”.

Adv Phafane said this during the ongoing trial within a trial of Local Government and Chieftainship Minister, Lehlohonolo Moramotse’s murder-accused son, Thabo Moramotse.

Adv Phafane represents Thabo who has been charged with the 22 June 2016 murder of his sister-in-law, ‘Mateboho Moramotse. The case, which is before Judge Semapo Peete, began three weeks ago and six witnesses, including Minister Moramotse and Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Motlatsi Mapola, have already given their testimonies.

The trial within the trial began a fortnight ago with the aim of establishing whether or not Thabo was tortured by ACP Mapola to get him to confess to ‘Mateboho’s murder as he now alleges.

Thabo had alleged that he only confessed to ‘Mateboho’s murder after being tortured by ACP Mapola at the Maseru Central Charge Office on 17 August 2016.

He repeated his claims while being re-examined by Adv Phafane on Tuesday.

Adv Phafane had asked if he had written his ‘confession’ in ACP Mapola’s presence before going to see the now deceased Maseru Magistrate Phethise Motanyane.

“Yes, My Lord, I wrote down a statement at the Police Charge Office before we went to the Magistrate Court for the confession,” Thabo said.

This did not go down well with DPP Motinyane who interjected, saying, “My Lord, the accused never wrote any statement while at the police charge office”.

Adv Phafane then berated the DPP for interfering with his re-examination of his client.

“My Lord, I am examining the accused and now the DPP is giving out evidence. If she wants to present any evidence, she should go into the witness box so that I cross-examine her. As it is, she is now giving evidence from the bar and she cannot be allowed to do that,” Adv Phafane charged.

DPP Motinyane then said she had only stepped in to point out that there was no such statement of confession in Thabo’s docket.

During the proceedings, Adv Phafane also objected to DPP Motinyane touching on the contents of his alleged confession while cross-examining Thabo.

He said this was not necessary at this stage because the sole aim of the trial within a trial was simply to establish whether or not the confession had freely made by Thabo.

“The truthfulness of the confession is not relevant at this point. What my learned friend should be cross-examining about is the voluntariness of the confession. She should not touch on the contents of the alleged confession because we are still in a trial within the trial,” argued Adv Phafane.

DPP Motinyane however, insisted that the law allowed her to touch on the contents of the confession to prove or disprove the credibility of the accused.

Justice Peete gave her the green light to touch on the contents of the confession but not to discuss whether or not Thabo was indeed guilty of the crime. The trial continues this week.

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