Double murder suspect granted bail

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Tefo Tefo

DOUBLE murder suspect Setsokotsane Majalle was on Tuesday granted bail by High Court judge Justice ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane after his first bail application failed before the same court last year.

Mr Majalle (21), from Ha-Lekhobanyane, Mazenod – about 17 kilometres south of Maseru – was arrested on 19 October 2014 for allegedly killing two nurses, Mpho Khutšoane and ‘Mathebane Ramataboe, on 12 August 2014 in Ha-Mosalla, Thaba-Bosiu.

He first appeared before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court on 21 October, 2014 where he was informed about his rights that include a right of legal representation for his trial and the right to bail, which would only be applied before the High Court.

Mr Majalle filed his first bail application before the High Court on 3 November 2014.

But Justice Hlajoane on 20 August 2015 refused to grant the bail.

In the judgement, Justice Hlajoane said it was not in the interest of justice to release Mr Majalle on bail as he was a flight risk.

He is charged together with one Lefa Mavusane Mabusane who had absconded.

On 12 August this year, Mr Majalle filed the second bail application following the arrest of his co-accused in South Africa. Mabusane is now serving a 10-year prison term at the Grootvlei prison in Bloemfontein for a robbery he committed in the neighbouring country.

In his founding affidavit before the court, Mr Majalle argued the time he had spent in jail without being properly charged was inordinately long since he was legally presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Mr Majalle further argued his incarceration without trial amounted to extra-judicial punishment and had “severely” prejudiced him. Mr Majalle said he was a National University of Lesotho student when he was arrested and had been forced to abandon his studies due to his incarceration without trial.

He also claimed to have developed a medical condition known as inguinal hernia for which he was on constant medication and set to undergo an operation.

In granting bail, Justice Hlajoane also considered that Mr Majalle could not languish in jail waiting for his co-accused to finish his jail term, which he only started in January this year.

However, she imposed stringent conditions for Mr Majalle to pay M2 000 as bail deposit and to provide two sureties in the amount of M20 000 each in the form of property with leases.

The judge also ordered the suspect to report to Mazenod Police Station every day and surrender his passport to the Registrar of the High Court.

According to the charge sheet, Mr Majalle is facing two counts of murder and one count of robbery.

Part of the charge sheet reads: “The said accused is charged with contravening provisions of section 40 (1) read with section 109 of 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 stone over the body and inflicted upon her serious injuries which later caused her death right on the spot.”

The third count reads: “That the said accused threatened to use violence to Mpho Khutšoane in order to steel or obtain her property, VW Golf car, that unless she consented to the taking by the said accused of the said property or refrained from offering any resistance to him in taking the said property, he would there and then shoot her, and did then and thereupon take and steel from Mpho Khutšoane the said property, which was her property or in her lawful possession.”

The two nurses were brutally killed on their way from a workshop they were attending in Thaba-Bosiu. Their bodies were found in a donga in Ha-Mosalla in the Thaba-Bosiu area.

Mr Majalle was represented in his bail application by Advocate Thulo Hoeane. – Additional reporting by LeNa

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