MASERU — The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Leaba Thetsane, on Tuesday said the murder trial of ’Malehlohonolo Scott cannot proceed as the main suspect is still at large.
’Malehlohonolo’s son, Lehlohonolo, escaped from Maseru Central Prison last October. The two are accused of killing two people for alleged ritual purposes.
’Malehlohonolo was released on M500 bail last Tuesday after spending 15 months in remand prison.
Thetsane told a media briefing this week that the prosecution could not proceed with the case in the absence of the main accused as that would be prejudicial to the crown’s case.
He said if ’Malehlohonolo was the one who had absconded he would have no difficulty prosecuting the son, Lehlohonolo, because there is overwhelming evidence against him.
Thetsane declined to respond when asked what will happen to ’Malehlohonolo now that her son is at large.
He also said he could not commit himself as to what will happen to ’Malehlohonolo if Lehlohonolo is not found.
“We will cross that bridge when we get there,” he said.
Lehlohonolo is the main suspect in the murders of Moholobela Seetsa and Kamohelo Mohata whose bodies were found dismembered in Koalabata in January 2011 and July last year respectively.
Lehlohonolo was the one who led the police where he had hidden the remains after he was caught in possession of body parts at a home he shared with his mother in Koalabata.
Clothes of the murdered teenagers, who had previously gone missing in the village, were also found in Lehlohonolo’s possession.
“A prosecutor knows the details of the contents of a docket and is able to assess if there is a case or not,” Thetsane said.
He likened Scott’s case to the one former military junta leader Phisoane Ramaema and his son Sechaba Ramaema, in which the crown had to wait until Sechaba was found so that both of them could be tried together.
It was a case of murder in which the murdered person’s car was found at the Ramaemas’ home.
The house belonged to the father and when his son absconded the crown had to put the case on ice until he was found or else “the case would be prejudiced”.
“In the same way, the crown has decided that it cannot proceed with this case in the absence of the main accused, Lehlohonolo Scott,” Thetsane said.
Thetsane said he is not even going to apply for a separation of cases.
“The judge will hear our reasons for that,” he said.
Thetsane said it was because of the crown’s decision not to proceed with the case as a separate trial that ’Malehlohonolo was granted bail or else her rights to freedom of movement would be unconstitutionally violated.
This case was postponed on two separate occasions on grounds that the main accused had disappeared.
Thetsane said according to the law, ‘Malehlohonolo is not guilty until she has been proven guilty.