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No joy for ritual murder suspect

by Lesotho Times
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…as High Court refuses to release ‘Malehlohonolo Scott’s passport, citing she is a flight risk

Tefo Tefo

THE High Court has refused to release the passport of double ritual murder suspect, ‘Malehlohonolo Scott, because she is a “flight risk”.

Justice Teboho Moiloa, who made the ruling on Monday this week, said the passport was seized to ensure Ms Scott stays in the country and is available whenever she is needed to appear in court.

The 58-year-old widow is charged alongside her son, Lehlohonolo (28), for allegedly killing and mutilating their Koalabata neighbours— Moholobela Seetsa (13) and Kamohelo Mohata (22)—on 12 January and 12 June 2012, respectively, for ritual purposes.

The pair was arrested on 12 July 2012, but Lehlohonolo escaped from Maseru Central Prison three months later—only to be arrested at a church in Durban, South Africa, on 6 April 2014.

He is being detained at the Durban North Correctional Service, while fighting extradition to Lesotho in the Durban North Magistrate’s Court.

Lehlohonolo Scott

Lehlohonolo Scott

Meanwhile, following her son’s dramatic escape, Justice Moiloa released Ms Scott on M500 bail in August 2013. The release came after the accused’s lawyer,  Advocate Thulo Hoeane, argued his client’s continued detention without prosecution was a violation of her right to freedom of movement.

But two of Ms Scott’s bail conditions were she should surrender her passport to ensure she does not abscond from Lesotho, and also report to the police once every week.

However, the latter condition was relaxed in November last year and she now had to report twice a month to the police.

And in an effort to have his client granted further relief, Advocate Hoeane on Monday applied for the release of Ms Scott’s passport  so she could attend church services in South Africa—a request turned down by Justice Moiloa.

According to the judge, 31 August 2015 had been set as the date on which ‘Malehlohonolo, and possibly her son Lehlohonolo, would be back in court, and could therefore, not take risks by returning her passport.

“The court date was set to enable the completion of the ongoing extradition proceedings for Lehlohonolo in the Durban North Magistrate’s Court.

“However, if he is extradited before that date, counsel should see me to set a date for trial,” Justice Moiloa said.

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