MASERU – A 71-year-old woman last week pleaded with a Maseru magistrate to keep a rape suspect behind bars as she feared for her own safety.
‘Ma-Amelia Lekaka told the presiding magistrate Mampho Mokoena to deny bail to Joel Ntsooa.
Joel Ntsooa, from Ha James Makhobalo in Mazenod on the outskirts of Maseru, is accused of raping Lekaka on October 16 last year. He is denying the charge.
The magistrate however granted bail to Ntsooa, 25, on condition that he undergoes an HIV test to determine his status.
Under the country’s laws Ntsooa could face the death penalty if he is found to have infected Lekaka with the deadly virus which causes Aids.
Ntsooa told the court that he would abide by any stringent bail conditions imposed upon him.
The magistrate ordered Ntsooa to pay M650 bail and find a person who could pay a surety of M5 000.
The accused was also ordered to report at Flight One police station in Mazenod at the end of every month and not to interfere with witnesses.
Earlier on an investigating officer, Trooper Kopano Pekile, told the court that if granted bail the accused would find it difficult to attend court sessions and remands.
Pekile also expressed fears that the accused could sexually assault the complainant again as she lived alone.
“Another reason for opposing bail is that the complainant lives alone and I fear that the accused might go and (sexually) assault her again,” Trooper Pekile said.
The complainant who was leaning on her walking stick for support told the court that she would live in fear if the accused was freed on bail.
“I would have problems if the accused is released on bail . . . he would come and assault me,” Lekaka said.
The magistrate however rejected the arguments and granted bail to Ntsooa.
The case was remanded to March 6.