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Judge threatens to revoke murder accused’s bail

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

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Moorosi Tsiane

HIGH Court judge, Tšeliso Mokoko, yesterday threatened to revoke the bail of murder accused, Qamo Matela.

This after Matela had failed to appear in court on time to stand trial for the murder of his wife, ‘Mahlompho, in September 2021.

Court sessions start at 9.30am. However, Matela had not yet arrived when proceedings were supposed to start.   When he entered the courtroom a few minutes later, an incensed Justice Mokoko lashed out at him and threatened to revoke his bail.

“When the court adjourned on 16 September 2022, you were informed that the matter will resume today at 9:30am,” an irate Justice Mokoko said.

“The court indeed resumed at 09:30 hours today and you were not before the court. As you can see the court is waiting for you. Can you tell this court why your bail cannot be cancelled? It looks as if you are not abiding by your bail conditions,” Justice Mokoko charged.

Matela then apologised to the judge.

“I sincerely apologise my lord. I’ve been here since 8:45am. I called my lawyer (Lepeli Molapo) and he said I should wait for him at the parking lot but he still hasn’t arrived,” Matela said.

His apology was not enough to placate Justice Mokoko who told him that he was expected to be punctual for all court sessions.

“If your lawyer is not present, the court will deal with him. If you are not here on time, the court will also deal with you,” Justice Mokoko said.

Advocate Molapo eventually showed up and apologised for his lateness.

When the matter resumed, the Crown, represented by Adv Tšeisa Pone asked for a postponement due the ill-health of the lead counsel, Adv Pelea Joala.

However, Justice Mokoko gave Adv Pone an hour to interview an unnamed witness to familiarise himself with the case before returning to the court.

On his return, Adv Pone informed the judge that the witness’ testimony was long and technical. He then requested more time to interview him.

“I interviewed the witness and his testimony is long and technical. I plead for further indulgence and ask that the case be postponed to tomorrow (today). I will not do any justice to this case if I continue with it now,” submitted Adv Pone.

The defence did not object to his request and Justice Mokoko then postponed the case to today.

Mr Matela hogged the headlines in September 2021 after he was accused of murdering his wife.

He allegedly beat her to death in anger after she reportedly failed to give his mother M20 that she had requested.

Ms Matela was initially ferried to Maseru Private Hospital before being transferred to Pelonomi Hospital where she died on 11 September 2021.