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Witness takes dig at lawyer

Sello Morake

MASERU — A South African national, Paul Mgayi, last Wednesday stunned the Maseru Magistrate’s Court when he accused a defence lawyer of trying to defend the indefensible.
Mgayi was testifying in a case in which he was robbed at gunpoint of his Isuzu twin-cab in Bloemfontein, South Africa, on March 2 this year.
He said the lawyer, Tebalo Potsane, was frantically trying to defend the indefensible.
Speaking in the local Sesotho language, Mgayi said: “Ke nahana hore my learned friend o tsamaea ka pela terene. (My learned friend is walking in front of a moving train.)”
The statement was greeted with wild laughter from the public gallery.
Majake Ramoroke and Lefu Ramoroke appeared in court in connection with the theft of the motor vehicle.
This is the same case that later sucked in Police Commissioner ‘Malejaka Letooane after she allegedly refused to release the vehicle which was in police custody before magistrate Ts’eliso Bale.
She was charged and convicted for contempt of court.
She however escaped prison after Chief Justice Mahapela Lehohla threw out the contempt of court charge.
Mgayi told the court that on March 2 he was robbed at gunpoint by two men at Namibia Square in Bloemfontein.
“Two men attacked me with guns pointing them at me while I was driving at Namibia Square in Bloemfontein,” Mgayi said.
“They are the accused before the court. I still remember them clearly.”
He said the vehicle was only recovered in Khubetsoana on the outskirts of Maseru on March 29.
Mgayi said when he was called by the police to identify his vehicle he realised that the chassis as well as the engine number had been tampered with.
He said the chassis number was altered slightly from ADMTFR32D5B402802 to ADMTFR32D5B402891.
The engine number had also been changed from C24SE31022901 to C24SFX31055901, he said.
“The chassis number had been rubbed off and the tag had been removed from where it had been attached,” Mgayi said.
Prosecutor Ts’eliso Hlaele asked Mgayi to read the chassis and engine numbers from the motor vehicle certificate.
But Potsane objected saying it was not proper for witnesses to read papers in court without guidance from the prosecution.
“It is highly prohibited for witnesses to read papers,” said Potsane.
“My learned friend cannot hand in the papers.
“I would not allow the court to take that document as I don’t know what it is.
“It is a copy of what?
“In law when the copy is handed in it must have been certified and stamped.
“The witness cannot read the document in the manner in which he is leading the court.
“He is refreshing his memory but there are legal principles that should be followed when one wants to refresh his memory but not in this manner.”
Magistrate ‘Makopano Taole said Potsane should be realistic as it was not possible to remember off hand the full engine and chassis numbers.
She then asked Potsane to tell her his own personal chassis and engine numbers.
The lawyer flatly refused, saying he was merely asking a question of law and did not want to be embarrassed by that question.
The case was postponed to January 13 and 14 next year.

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