By Nat Molomo
MASERU — High Court judge Justice Semapo Peete says he is worried by incidents of exhibits disappearing at police stations. He raised the concern during a murder hearing when the crown told the court that the alleged murder weapon, a knife, had gone missing. He was presiding over a case in which Tsietsi Motumi, 40, is accused of murdering his father Buta Motumi on November 15, 2004 at Ha Mapetla in Maseru district. Justice Peete’s remarks came after he asked the crown counsel, Advocate Kananelo Khoboko, about the knife that the accused is alleged to have used to stab his father.
The prosecutor told the court that the investigating officer in the case had told her that the exhibit, a brown Okapi knife, could not be found. “With my experience in this court the keeping of exhibits leaves much to be desired,” Justice Peete said, adding that this could result in the miscarriage of justice. “I think I will talk to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and remind them that the police have a duty to keep exhibits,” he said. The judge said he knew of cases where guns had gone missing at police stations. Crown witness, Itumeleng Motumi, told the court that on November 15, 2004 he found Buta Motumi lying in a pool of blood in his yard. He said he had nine stab wounds — four on the neck and five on the body. Itumeleng said there was a long-standing feud between the accused and his father over fields and a homestead. Itumeleng said he was going to buy fodder for his pigs when one Taole called him to come and see what Tsietsi Motumi had done to his father.
According to Itumeleng, Tsietsi was standing at the road and preventing people from getting to where Buta Motumi’s body lay. He was still holding his brown Okapi knife, he added. Itumeleng told the court that when he tried to get closer Tsietsi started chasing him. “While he was chasing me, I threw stones at him and he turned back. He told me that he would fetch people from Ha ’Masana village to come and kill my family,” he added. Itumeleng said although he had not seen Tsietsi stab his father he knew that there was “bad blood” between the two. The case continues tomorrow.