Advocate Monaheng Rasekoai has labelled the case brought before the court in the matter involving Deputy Commissioner of Police Paseka Mokete permeable and frivolous, in an attempt to pull Mokete from the coals.
Addressing Magistrate Peter Murenzi at the Maseru Magistrate court in the matter in which Mokete is accused of sexually assaulting her junior, one Inspector ‘Makatleho Mphetho, Rasekoai said that the allegations levelled against his client (Mokete) are nothing but a vindictive vile vendetta by the Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA) Deputy Secretary General.
This he said in a bid to motivate his application of discharge lodged last month arguing, Inspector ‘Makatleho Mphetho who is represented in the matter by Advocate Motene Rafoneke, is intent on smudging Mokete’s reputation.
According Rasekoai the case is malicious and intended to mud his client’s name as there was never an intention on his part to touch the buttocks of Mphetho on May 30, 2021 at the National Assembly premises.
This comes after the prosecution furnished the court with all its evidence to prove that Mokete manhandled and sexually assaulted Mphetho by touching her buttocks while trying to retrieve a letter of her “termination of membership of LEPOSA” resultantly tearing off Mphetho’s belt-loop and pocket-buttons from her police uniform pants.
He continued that the court should take note that the two institutions; Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) and LEPOSA are at odds with one another, an element that played a significant part and triggered the criminal charge, while the second is the narrative on sexual harassment and the inherent prejudices which are often displayed when a case which has to do with sexual harassment comes to the mode.
“The very purpose behind triggering invocation of Section 175 which harbours or sanctions the application for discharge is to do away with that very issue that there is clearly no point in proceeding with a case which is evidently frivolous at the expense of the State to the prejudice of the accused person.
“Now the advantage that the complainant has is that she has a prosecutor free of charge at the State expenses and the resources of the State; the law enforcement institution which ironically she is a member of, assists her in pursuing a case against an accused person who has to fend for himself.
“This is not a mere run-of-the-mill scenario where we are trying our luck. From the evidence presented, there is no other evidence that they can produce before this court which will sustain a conviction except the one they have adduced before you. From this evidence what you are called to do is to make a determination in an ultimate analysis whether the accused has a case to answer to the question whether my client is a violent sexual predator who would stop at nothing to achieve those ends,” he said.
He added that the whole purpose was for the issuance of a letter but not to engage in any illicit sexual harassment or any violence and according to the version of the complainant’s evidence, she gave accused compliments and endeavoured to leave. After taking the letter the accused is said to have ordered her back to sign off receipt of the letter which wouldn’t do and sought to storm off, which the accused had attempted to grab her thus manhandling the complainant the effects of which was touching her buttocks without her consent and subsequently tearing the pants and buttons.
“When you analyse this evidence given by the complainant herself, the real question that you have to determine is an element of actus reus which runs contemporaneously with a mens rea,” he said.
“Can we say there was a wilful and unlawful intention to touch the buttocks? The answer in my humble submission is that inevitably No!” he said.
“We know and the evidence has been led before this court. We have heard some audio clips to which the complainant made bare denial where we learnt of someone whose voice is peculiarly similar to hers saying ‘I am going to embarrass him in the media so that the public knows what kind of a person he is,’ we have that evidence on record.
“Clearly this was a calculated, coordinated and vindictive endeavour on the part of the complainant to have the accused’s dignity and name dragged in the mud,” he said.
Contrarily, Rafoneke argued that whether the accused indirectly touched the buttocks with absent intentions, the act itself is enough to sustain the case as cited under Sexual Offence 2003.
“Clearly there is an ample evidence to show that the touching of the buttocks did happen and that proves a commission of an offence under section 3 (2). Even if the buttocks were touched and in no direct contact as he wanted to reach out for his letter and unfortunately ended up touching the buttocks, the Act is very clear that whether it is direct or indirect, it is an offence,” he continued.
He said Mokete had to know better as he is a law enforcement officer who knows better about a crime and that touching of buttocks amounts to such. He further charged that the accused person is also a seasoned lawyer and not only conversant with the position of the law but was trained in that regard.
The case has been postponed to April 22, 2022 for the court’s ruling before Mokete could provide his evidence-in-chief.