Connect with us


Nthane’s case a miscarriage of justice



Let me start by making it clear that I have nothing personal against businessman Tšeliso Nthane. I only demand that justice be served. I had so much hope when the government hired a few judges to and hear murder cases. But the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane and her team, deliberately failed to prepare for Nthane’s murder case.

Justice is an essential part of every individual’s life. The system of courts has been set up in this country for the purpose of the regulation of justice. The courts are looked up to for being the instrument for safeguarding justice.

Delivering this justice is a difficult task because it must not only be delivered but must also seem to have been delivered. This signifies that the responsibility of the courts does not end after just delivering the verdict which provides justice to the parties in the case but after the court ensures that there is an application of the judgment delivered.

In some recent days, there have been an instance of miscarriage of justice which has not only affected the parties involved in the case but also the public at large. Miscarriage of justice even creates doubts in the minds of many as to who is responsible for it, the courts, or the police investigator or the prosecutor or the judges who deliver the judgment. Either way, it affects the integrity of the very establishment of the court system.

Miscarriage signifies failure whereas justice can be interpreted as justness. Therefore miscarriage of justice symbolises the failure of the pronouncement of what is right and just. In my opinion there was failure in the pronouncement of what is right and just in the case between Nthane versus the State.

Charges of murder, culpable homicide and attempted murder are very serious and can have serious consequences, including lengthy prison terms.

I am not a lawyer but an activist. I understand that Nthane was supposed to be charged with murder. The legal definition of murder is the taking of the life of another person with intent, or with reckless disregard for the consequences of your actions. This is a simple definition of a complex and serious crime. In this case Nthane who was charged with murder had defences available to him, including insanity and self-defence. But that was not his defence in court.

Often, a charge of murder will be reduced to culpable homicide on further scrutiny of the facts. This was an assignment which was supposed to be done by the DPP, and her team. In my opinion, as a citizen, Nthane should have also been charged with culpable homicide. In this case culpable homicide would have been the appropriate charge where an act (or failure to act) brought about the end to Kopang Mohapi’s life, where there was no intent on the part of the accused. It is shocking that Nthane could not even be found guilty of culpable homicide.

Are fame and money recipes for happiness? Probably not, but they are helpful when it comes to dodging the law. This past week we witnessed the acquittal of a rich and famous man and that has left the rest of us stunned and angry.

Though it’s not for me to say who was guilty and who wasn’t, I think the facts of this case speak for themselves. It is common knowledge that, Kopang Mohapi, who worked as a driver for the Nthane Brothers company, a company owned by Nthane, was involved in a road accident at the Moteng Pass about 171 kilometres from Maseru while transporting construction machinery to Polihali in Mokhotlong for the Nthane Brothers Company which was awarded a road construction tender for the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) in 2019.

It is common knowledge that Mohapi died after an altercation with Nthane. But it appears that if you are rich, you can get away with murder in this country. You can shoot a person with your gun, kill him, report yourself to the police and yet still get away with it. Incompetent police investigators and the prosecutor failed to do their job.

The judge who is also aware that Nthane killed Thabo found him not guilty because of the weak evidence that presented before her.
What matters is that Mohapi is dead. The gun that killed him belongs to Nthane. He left his home with an intention to use the gun. His argument is that there were people who wanted to attack him on the scene yet he does not claim to have used the gun in self-defence.

The judge repeatedly pointed out that nobody saw the accused shooting the victim. Yet Nthane was there on the scene, took out his gun, fired with the same gun and a person was shot and killed by Nthane’s gun. So if she insists on nobody having seen the accused shooting the victim, Nthane’s gun must have discharged itself.

We heard shocking testimonies in court, a bullet that was fired into the air, hit a rock and went straight to Mohapi and killed him. This bullet decided to choose Mohapi, of all the people.
Justice may be blind, but those who administer it are not. The criminal justice system has systemic flaws that disproportionately punish the poor and reward the rich.

The system of justice in Lesotho has long been mired in a regressive state where the laws apply only to those who do not have enough money or influence to be able to flout them at will.
The result is a vastly unequal society where the little people remain under the thumb of the rich and powerful who can do as they please with no one to hold them to account. That is hardly a recipe for social harmony and social justice.

By perpetuating a culture of impunity for a chosen few, Lesotho makes it seem acceptable to apply laws selectively in the interest of those with money and power.

Equality before the law is a cultural and political feature of a society that needs to be constantly bolstered and protected. The case of Tšeliso Nthane is proof that in this country the very concept remains alien to those who are supposed to uphold the country’s laws.

Ramahooana Matlosa

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Copyright © 2022. The Post Newspaper. All Rights Reserved