Woes befell a murder suspect, Litekanyo Nyakane when his lawyer Advocate Karabo Mohau left him out to dry in open court at the opening of trial.
Mohau withdrew from the case at opening of trial this week.
Nyakane, is charged alongside fellow solders: Khauhelo Mokoai, Sebilo Sebilo, Tšepo Hakeli and Thebe Tšephe, for three murder counts, following the 2017 slaying of Thabang Mosole, Monake Matsie and Pakiso Ntala who were shot at Ha Motanyane, Mafeteng.
Mohau told the court that he could not continue with the case as he was not given enough time to prepare for the defence.
He persuaded the court to postpone the case so that the defence council prepares their argument, but his reasons were not enough to sway the mind of Judge Onkemetse Tshosa. The crown council represented by Mosoeunyane Masiphole, stated that there is no order to stay the case.
He further stated that he could not proceed with the case which he did not prep for or risk his integrity.
This means that all the five murder suspected soldiers in case CRI/T/0003/18 are without lawyers.
“I and my learned friend had a moment of retraction on the proceedings of today. I wish to assure this honourable court that I and advocate Letuka accepted the responsibility to come and represent the accused, helping Nyakane in this matter,” Karabo said.
“We intended to discharge a very big responsibility to the best of our ability. We are aware of the severity of the charges and possible sentence should the accused be convicted.
“Among the papers that were served as part of witness statement is a sketch plan of some area somewhere. In a case of that nature, if we were to do justice to the accused person’s case and had we been instructed much earlier than now, we would have visited this area depicted in this plan for an inspection.
“I have been in practice for more than 30 years now and retirement is beckoning and I am not about to begin doing things in a way that does not agree with my practices, in the present circumstances,” he said adding that he is not going to proceed with the case at the cost of his integrity.
“It is with a heavy heart because I love my job to assist the court to get justice, but I am not going to do that at the cost of my own integrity and to what the oath I took means as the advocate of this court.
“I feel that with my learned friend who is assisting me in this case, may not be of any assistance to this court, in circumstance that we are compelled to proceed with the trial of this matter, we have no option but to withdraw and allow this process to continue in the manner that it is continuing without our participation or we will otherwise forever blame ourselves for having participated in a trial when we were not fully prepared to discharge our responsibility to the best of our ability,” he said.
The case has been postponed to April 13, 2021 for argument.