By Thoboloko Nts’onyane
MASERU – The High Court has on Monday this week postponed the contempt case involving the Commissioner of Police (COMPOL) Holomo Molibeli.
In this case the applicant is the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Beleme Lebajoa and the respondents are COMPOL and the Attorney-General respectively.
Before the contempt proceedings can kick off, the respondents lawyer Advocate Mafefoane Moshoeshoe requested for postponement to allow the first respondent to enlist the services of the lawyer of his choice. This is after the previous lawyer who was handling the case, Advocate Mohloki recused himself.
Judge Ts’eliso Mokoko granted COMOL a leave to seek a lawyer of his choice saying it is his constitutional right to do so. Meanwhile, the applicant’s lawyer Advocate Rethabile Setlojoane objected to the postponement saying COMPOL does not take the court “seriously”.
Advocate Setlojoane said their client pays them, him and Advocate Salemane Phafane KC, a lot of money for the appearances and therefore cannot afford postponement since indulgence was already given. Rebatting this argument, Advocate Moshoeshoe said it is the “misrepresentation” of facts as he nor Advocate Mohloki did not have the “authority” to say if the first respondent can engage the private lawyer.
Advocate Phafane KC also objected to the postponement saying either the Commissioner or Advocate Mohloki knew that there would be a necessity for the private lawyer.
“To make matters worse, we cannot be told a few minutes before the court commences having spent the whole weekend preparing. Surely someone has to bear the costs,” he said, requesting the court to order the Commissioner to shoulder the day’s wasted costs.
“We are suddenly being ambushed with the request for postponement”, he continued.
The applicant’s lawyer said the postponement merits that someone shoulders the wasted costs.
The presiding judge ordered COMPOL to shoulder the costs as the postponement was on his account.
On March 20, Judge Mokoko ordered COMPOL to appear before his court in person in order to “show cause why” he cannot be committed for contempt of court”.
The contempt order against the Commissioner was filed after he failed to honour the court’s order that he give DCP Lebajoa the office and the bodyguards.
The matter has been stood down until April 3, and Judge Mokoko said it will continue regardless of whether COMPOL has secured the private lawyer or not. “With or without counsel, this matter will proceed [on Monday],” stressed Judge Mokoko.