MASERU –Prominent lawyer Haae Phoofolo wants Police Commissioner Malejaka Letooane behind bars.
Letooane was convicted of contempt of court last week and sentenced to six months in prison but she was not jailed because she sought and got a stay of execution in the High Court last Friday.
Justice Semapo Peete gave the interim order for stay of execution. Letooane had applied for the order together with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Leaba Thetsane against magistrate Ts’eliso Bale’s decision.
The DPP’s application cited Bale, Majake Ramoroke, clerk of court and the attorney general as respondents.
Phoofolo is challenging the interim order and insisting that Letooane should be jailed.
Phoofolo is representing Ramoroke whose car theft case triggered the current litigation. Letooane was convicted after she failed to appear in court and testify in the case.
Phoofolo filed the application to challenge the order on Monday.
Phoofolo said the interim order giving reprieve to the commissioner was irregular.
“The application is irregular; it does not comply with the procedures of the law,” Phoofolo said in the papers.
“Under section 98 of the constitution the attorney-general exercises ultimate authority over director of public prosecutions and to take necessary legal measures for the protection and upholding of the constitution and other laws,” he said.
He contended that the office of DPP and Attorney-General are one office and therefore cannot sue each other as they did in the application.
“There is no way they can sue each other.”
He said it was ironic that the DPP is an applicant and the Attorney-General is a respondent.
He said one of the most important principles of the constitution is the independence of the judiciary and the court.
Phoofolo said the constitution was clear that the Attorney-General has to protect the courts.
“Logically this means he is enjoined to protect and defend the courts as well as judicial officers, particularly the orders made by the courts.”
“In this case it is not clear as to who protects or defends who,” he said.
“Which party is the DPP representing between the commissioner of police and the magistrate, because rightly the DPP ought to be protecting the magistrate whose orders have not been complied with?” he asked.
He said the DPP is suing the magistrate for the lawful decision he took in the course of his duties as a magistrate.