MASERU — A warrant of arrest has been issued for a suspected robber who skipped bail a few minutes before he was due to appear in the Maseru Magistrate’s Court last Friday.
Sello Maphepa, 33, had come to court on Friday to face trial for allegedly robbing an omnibus in Ha-Abia in 2009.
Just before entering the court to face his charges Maphepa is alleged to have told the police that he was going to the toilet and was never seen after that.
According to the police charge sheet Maphepa and two alleged accomplices are alleged to have ambushed the driver and conductor.
It is alleged that they also hijacked the vehicle and used it to flee the scene.
Maphepa was caught in Ladybrand by members of the South African police.
After Maphepa’s disappearance his wife, who was one of the witnesses, told the police that her husband had called to tell her that he was no longer coming to court but had not explained why.
Magistrate Senekal Qobolo was already in the court, ready to hear the case when he was informed that the suspect had vanished.
A surprised Qobolo relayed the news to the six witnesses that were already in the court.
“Accused has disappeared and you should not be surprised why you are waiting outside the court,” Qobolo said.
“I will give him 40 minutes to report himself before the court. After 1200hours we will be sure that someone ought to have known that the case should have gone underway as it will be half a day,” he said.
And when the clock struck 12:00 Qobolo said he had no choice but to proceed with other cases.
Public prosecutor Qinumutsi Tshabalala told the court that he was ready to prosecute the case but the accused was nowhere to be found.
Maphepa’s lawyer Advocate Motlatsi Masoabi said he did not know where his client was. The case has been postponed to May 28, 2010.