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Soldiers walk free in assault case

Alphonse Mosito and Khethisa Bereng had
pleaded not guilty.
The court concluded that to put the accused
to their defence would only be to build a non-existent case.
Mosito and Bereng were charged with
assaulting Retšelisitsoe Lenanya, by hitting him with a button
stick on the ankles and also strangling him.
According to court papers, on November 17,
2008, the two soldiers visited the house of the complainant at Makoanyane
between 4 and 4.30pm.


“They asked me in the presence of my parents
to accompany them, the reason being that they had heard that I knew someone who
had broken into the house of the Indian officers who stayed inside the barracks
at LDF,” the complainant said.
The witness told the court he neither knew
the house broken into
nor the person who committed the crime.
The two LDF officers then asked the
complainant to accompany them to a phone shop.
He said they then took him to the Military
Police and locked him
inside the toilet, and only opened it at 8pm.
From there, he claims he was taken to
Ratjomose barracks.
There, he said he was handcuffed by the
accused on the ankles and assaulted with button sticks on the head with the
soldiers demanding that he tells the truth.

“Accused two (Bereng) hit me with a button
stick over the body from the top to the toe,” he said.
But in her ruling, the magistrate said the
court finds itself in a dilemma in that the only corroborated evidence of
assault and injury that is available for its determination is that by close
members of a family and that a medical report that could have corroborated this
evidence together with the evidence of the investigating officers or police
officers was never presented to assist the court.
The court observed that in terms of section
175 (3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act No. 7 of 1981 if at the
close of the crown’s case, the court considers there is no
evidence, it may return a verdict of not guilty.

Counsel Molefi Ntlhoki appeared for the defence.

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