The lawyer representing double ritual murder suspect, Lehlohonolo Scott, has condemned his client’s 24-hour solitary confinement “without constant breaks enjoyed by other prisoners”.
Scott was extradited from South Africa on Wednesday last week after his arrest in Durban on 6 April 2014. The 30-year-old had been on the run following his dramatic escape from Maseru Central Prison on 14 October 2012 while he and his mother, ’Malehlohonolo, awaited trial for the alleged murder of fellow Koalabata residents Moholobela Seetsa (13) and Kamohelo Mohata (22).
Seetsa and Mohata were allegedly killed in January and June 2012 respectively, and their mutilated bodies led to suggestions they had been murdered for ritual purposes.
Advocate Thulo Hoeane, who is representing Scott in the trial, yesterday expressed concern at the way his client is being treated at Maseru Central Prison. Scott briefly appeared before the High Court last Wednesday where Justice Teboho Moiloa remanded him in custody until 23 November 2015.
Advocate Hoeane told the Lesotho Times when he visited Scott on Friday last week, he discovered unlike other prisoners, his client was not being allowed out of his cell at all.
“I visited Scott on Friday; I am satisfied with his health condition as his lawyer. However, I am not happy that he is locked-up 24 hours a day in his cell, while the other prisoners at the same facility are being periodically released just to chat with each other and breathe fresh air.
“I know my client is being kept under heavy security to prevent him from escaping again and I don’t have a problem with that.
“There is a newly-built block at the prison, where I discovered that Scott, Ntsokotsane Majalle (suspect in the killing of two nurses last year) and foreign mercenaries who were convicted for attacking State House in 2009, are being kept,” Advocate Hoeane explained.
“But all these other prisoners are allowed to go out of their cells and talk to each other and also have some fresh air. This is not the case with my client, and I cannot be happy about that as his lawyer.”
Advocate Hoeane said he would table his concern before the court when trial resumes on 23 November.
“I have met with the prosecution and we agreed that the trial will resume on 23 November as the judge indicated. They told me they were busy preparing the charge of escape from prison for Scott and that I should allow them time until the set trial date and then raise my concern.”
Asked if he intended to apply for bail for Scott, Advocate Hoeane said he would leave it to his client to decide.
“Chances of his release on bail are very slim considering he has already proved to be a flight risk. However, I will receive all the instructions from him. If he says I should seek bail for him, then I will try. But like I said, chances of success on that are almost zero.”
Asked about ’Malehlohonolo, who was released on bail when Scott was still at large, Advocate Hoeane said she would be before the court when her son makes his appearance next month.
“She is still on bail; nothing has changed concerning her case. Now that the main suspect is here, she will be in court on 23 November,” said Advocate Hoeane.