By Billy Ntaote
MASERU – The prosecution has urged the High Court to postpone the trial of ritual murder suspect, Lehlohonolo Scott, to February 10 2015.
Crown counsel, Thapelo Mokuku, made the request yesterday before Justice Molefi Makara, arguing the lengthy postponement was to allow the extradition of Scott from South Africa.
Scott, 27, reportedly fled to South Africa after his sensational escape from Maseru Central Prison on 14 October 2012. He had been arrested on July 12 alongside his mother, ‘Malehlohonolo Scott, 54, for the alleged murder of Moholobela Seetsa and Kamohelo Mohata in January and June 2012, respectively.
In his application, Mokuku said the extradition process was protracted and therefore, required more time to accomplish.
“We have been in contact with Interpol in South Africa and we have filed papers regarding the extradition. This requires a lengthy postponement of the trial as the extradition is a lengthy, tedious process,” he said.
In response, Justice Makara expressed concern that such a lengthy postponement could have serious repercussions for the justice system.
“The court, yourself and everyone in the administration of justice, should ensure the system works effectively.
“The judicial system has been rendered ineffective and it’s important that we should uphold the confidence of the public.
“I fear that postponing this case to such a future date would render our justice system doubtful in the eyes of the public,” Justice Makara said.
The judge also asked if it took the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services “a long time” to write a letter requesting Scott’s extradition to Lesotho.
“Does it require such a long time for the minister take papers to a place just a stone’s throw away?”Justice Makara asked.
However, Mokuku told the court he was not asking for the twelve-month postponement because he wanted to punish Scott’s mother as the co-accused.
“I’m not asking for twelve months because I want this case to be hanging over her head but because extradition matters take a long time,” he said.
Advocate Thulo Hoeane, representing Scott and his mother, countered Mokuku’s request, retorting “this February 10, 2015 postponement is unacceptably lengthy.”
Hoeane demanded that the prosecution confirm, with documentation, that Scott had been arrested and his extradition was underway.
“When such documentation proving the accused’s arrest and that extradition is under way is available, then we would agree that there is proof of what is going on,” Hoeane said.
Meanwhile, ‘Malehlohonolo Scott, who briefly appeared before Justice Makara yesterday, is expected back in court on February 19.