MASERU — High Court Judge Thamsanqa Nomngcongo on Tuesday lashed out at former Law Society of Lesotho president Advocate Zwelakhe Mda after he failed to appear in court.
Mda was due to represent one of the four men who is accused of murdering Astoria Bakery managing director Thabo Phohleli in 2010.
Justice Nomngcongo said it was unfortunate that Mda who was screaming at the courts while holding the highest office at the Law Society of Lesotho until last Friday had failed to turn up.
The matter was last month set for hearing on March 13 to 16 as well as March 20 to 23.
Justice Nomngcongo said all counsel approached the judge’s clerk and agreed on the new dates.
“How the counsel diarised March 13 to16 only and Mr Mda is not here is beyond my comprehension,” he said.
“This cannot be fair for anyone, this cannot be fair to Mr Mda’s client and now they have to stay in jail.”
Justice Nomngcongo noted that he understood that Mda was in another court proceeding with a civil matter.
“The court registers its grave disappointment. We cannot have matters agreed on dates and have counsel not attending,” the judge said.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Leaba Thetsane, KC, said it was worrying that Advocate Mda who was part of “us” when the dates were set failed to attend.
But a seemingly disappointed Advocate Thulo Hoeane, who is representing one of the accused, Tello Mabusela, said the new dates were too far.
“I think at this juncture the court must impose dates in view of what has happened,” Hoeane said.
However, the case continued yesterday after Mda pitched up.
He told the Lesotho Times that his failure to attend the trial on Tuesday was a mistake on his part.
Mabusela, together with Seabata Ramohajane, Mareka Nthejane and Thabiso Sephula are facing several counts include the murder of Phohleli.
There are also accused of killing two other people, Thabang Malikoe and ‘Malerato Maphate.
The incidents allegedly took place on September 5, and October 17, 2010 at Lithoteng and Ha Tikoe in Maseru district respectively.
Mda last Friday stepped down as Law Society president after a 10-year stint at the society.
He was replaced by Maseru lawyer Monaheng Rasekoai.