High Court turns down bail application for SA national

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MASERU – The High Court has turned down a bail application by a South African national who was extradited to Lesotho to answer murder charges.
Mpumelelo Mbobo is alleged to have waved down a taxi, fired several shots at passengers killing four people. Two others were seriously injured in the attack.
The attack happened on October 13 2002 at Morifi in Mohale’s Hoek.
Mbobo is alleged to have fled the country into South Africa. He was later arrested and extradited to Lesotho on August 18 2008.
He is due to stand trial in the High Court in May.
Last Wednesday High Court Judge Gabriel Nts’abeng Mofolo dismissed Mbobo’s bail application.
The judge said granting bail to Mbobo would not be in the interests of justice.
 “This court . . . is of the view that the interests of justice demand that accused be kept in detention pending the result of his trial,” Justice Mofolo said.
Earlier on the crown counsel Advocate Mokuku said if the accused skipped bail it would be difficult to bring him to court again.
He said extradition procedures to bring Mbobo to court had been complicated and drawn out.
He said it had taken five years to bring the accused the court and if he “failed to attend trial the (directorate of public prosecutions) would be back at square one.”
Advocate Mokuku cited a case in which a South African was given surety by a Mosotho for his bail but has skipped his bail and is now in Britain.
He said “the administration of justice demands that the petitioner be kept in custody for his own good pending the result of the trial.”
Mbobo’s counsel, Advocate Zwelakhe Mda, said the petitioner was a South African and the South African government had extradited him to stand trial in Lesotho.
Mda said other than the “unsubstantiated allegations” against his client there was no evidence that the petitioner was guilty of the allegations levelled against him.
Justice Mofolo however said this was no ordinary application as the petitioner had to be extradited to Lesotho to stand trial.
He said should the petitioner “not stand trial as a result of being released on bail, another gruelling extradition proceedings will be the option.”
In his ruling last Wednesday Justice Mofolo dismissed Mbobo’s application for bail. He said the offence that he is being charged with was so serious that it would not serve the interests of justice to release him on bail.

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