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Mokete must answer to sex abuse charges: Crown

by Lesotho Times
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Mohalenyane Phakela

DEPUTY Commissioner of Police (DCP), Paseka Mokete, who is currently in court over allegations of sexually assaulting a subordinate, has a case to answer and should take the stand to defend himself instead of seeking acquittal before his side of the story is heard, the prosecution has demanded. This after DCP Mokete asked to be acquitted at the end of the Crown’s case, saying it had failed to prove that he committed any wrongdoing.

Criminal and procedural law allows an accused to seek acquittal at the close of the Crown’s case if a court is satisfied that the case is so wobbly as to warrant putting an accused to their defence.

That is exactly what DCP Mokete, through his lawyer Monaheng Rasekoai, is now seeking after the Crown closed its case recently. Mr Rasekoai subsequently asked the court to discharge the top cop, saying the Crown had miserably failed to prove any case against him.

But the Crown, represented by Advocate Motene Rafoneke, is insistent that it presented a solid case against DCP Mokete, and he should take the stand to explain himself.

DCP Mokete stands accused of sexually assaulting his junior, Inspector ‘Makatleho Mphetho, on 30 April 2020 while she was on duty at parliament, by forcibly touching her buttocks, breaking her trouser buttons and manhandling her.

Inspector Mphetho is the deputy secretary general of LEPOSA, the militant police union which has been at odds with DCP Mokete, Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli, and the rest of the police command. LEPOSA accuses the police management of incompetence and cronyism. In turn, the police command accuses LEPOSA of insubordination.

The case is before Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Murenzi who is expected to hand judgment on the acquittal request on 22 April 2022. Mr Rasekoai argues in the discharge application that no state witness had provided any compelling evidence warranting DCP Mokete to be put to his defence.

But the Crown said witnesses like cabinet minister, Selibe Mochoboroane, had clearly explained how they witnessed the alleged harassment incident.

The torn pair of trousers worn by Inspector Mphetho on the day of the alleged abuse — presented as evidence in court — proved that a crime had indeed been committed, said Advocate Rafoneke, among other arguments on why DCP Mokete must take the stand.

“The accused must justify that he did not damage the trousers and until we hear his evidence, the court must believe he committed those crimes. We pray that this application (for discharge) be dismissed,” he said.

Mr Rasekoai argued there was no basis for the charges, and they were being used to humiliate DCP Mokete because of differences between Inspector Mphetho’s LEPOSA and the police command.

“Can we safely conclude that Mr Mokete is an evil, violent, sexual predator who would stop at nothing, leave his office and go straight to the National Assembly premises, to target the buttocks of the complainant? My humble submission is that this evidence is inadequate to sustain a case to answer. There is absolutely no case to answer,” charged

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