…as lawyers fight over LMPS12 document
Tempers flared in the Maseru Magistrate’s Court during the deliberations in the sexual offence case involving Deputy Police Commissioner (DPC) Paseka Mokete who has been accused of sexually assaulting his coworker as legal counsel from either side of the matter were almost at each other’s throats.
Despite the boiling tensions that sprung between the prosecutor Motene Rafoneke and Mokete’s representative, advocate Kuili Ndebele pointing fingers with high pitched voices, and arguing that either of the sides has cooked up the LMPS 12 document, the second witness, Inspector Lebeoana Matekane confirmed the statement made by the complainant Police Inspector ‘Makatleho Mphetho in a case tried by Magistrate Peter Murenzi.
It was after Matekane confirmed that he recognises the LMPS 12 that he was shown while on the other end, the defendant refuted the placed evidence citing that they have “…a different version of the document, ours doesn’t have a stamp and signature of Clerk of court,” Ndebele said.
He alleged that the prosecution document is allegedly “cooked and concocted because the document does not have stamp and signature of the Clerk of court,” he said, adding that they request for an original document.
“This (his document) is a document given to my client to prepare the case, now they are changing gear and this is going to prejudice the case,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rafoneke told the court that the defence counsel will not get another document because… “This is the original document and I cannot give them another one, they must explain where they got that one from,” he said.
So heated was the debate that none of them was willing to sit down while the other party was addressing the court.
Advocate Monaheng Rasekoai who teamed-up with Ndebele stated that Rafoneke will have to withdraw his statement because… “That jeopardies their career as legal officer, he cannot say we faked the evidence, because that’s indirectly saying we have committed a crime and he must open a case at the police station and report us to Law Society,” he said.
However, the case proceeded after the defence yielded stating that they will deal with the evidence during cross-examination.
Inspector Matekane told the court that he attended to Mphetho at her arrival. He said she was scared and shivering with fear.
“Last year I was working at Maseru Central Charge Police Station when was summoned my boss, ‘mme Setsomi, when I got to her office I found Inspector Mphetho. I was ordered to help her; I went to the reception and helped her.
“She told me that ntate pulled her trousers while at work and the button on the left-back pocket was torn broken. I inspected the trousers and recognised that she was telling the truth. I wrote a report in the occurrences book.
“She was threatened and shaking with fear and I told her to go and will come back after she was calm. I opened a case for her; she was with some other women from LEPOSA. They made reports and I attached them to docket.
“I told her to bring the trousers the following day; I took the trouser and kept it as part of exhibit. I revealed it to the court clerk and I was ordered to keep it until the case is in court produce it as evidence,” she said.
This came after Ndebele cross-examined the first witness, Mphetho that… “You and your friends broke this button, you pulled this according to the evidence and the button that was here was torn,” he said.
Mphetho complained that DCP Mokete manhandled her, touching her buttocks without her consent last year on April 30 that the latter broke the buttons of her police trouser as she tried to escape Mokete’s tight grasp.
According to Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mokete pursued and dragged her back to the motor vehicle where the brawl continued.
In her initial testimony in court, Mphetho indicated that the brawl with her boss had ensued because of a resignation letter Mokete had brought at the National Assembly where she was stationed, which she refused to sign as asked by him.
Mphetho who is also a member of the Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA)’s executive Committee, said she reported the matter to Central Charge Office’s Inspector Matekane after being fingered for swapping the trouser and presenting the wrong one to the police station.
Ndebele continued with a sequence of questions to Mphetho regarding to her rank in LEPOSA and police service that in LEPOSA she is senior to Mokete and in police service he (Mokete) is a boss to her.
“I put it to you that this is an act of insubordination because you cannot be a senior of a commissioner when you are an Inspector,” he said.
“In LEPOSA I am not Inspector, I am a member of the committee but as Police I am an Inspector,” she said.
In her charge of Mokete on the matter, DPP stated that there is prima facie evidence of contravention of Section 3 (2) of the Sexual Offences Act No 3 of 2003 and alternatively contravention of Section 30 of the Penal Code No 6 of 2010.
“The accused must be charged with contravening Section 72 of the Penal Code Act No 6 of 2010 and I direct that DCP Mokete must be charged accordingly. I further find that the unlawful sexual act (as defined in the Act) was committed under coercive circumstances,” Motinyane said.