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AOJ in financial dire straits

*State struggling to transport witnesses to Courts

*Provision of food for witnesses also affected

*Situation can only be rescued by a Supplementary budget

HARD TIMES: Accused person being prepared for remand

The Administration of Justice has run out funds and this is likely to affect delivery of Justice until April 2023 when the 2023-2024 Financial year commences.

This was revealed by a Prosecutor- Seeletso Ookeditse, before Justice Itumeleng Segopolo on Thursday afternoon when seeking an adjournment.

“My Lord there is no money for witnesses. I was told that the money got finished this week and that the only solution is a Supplementary Budget or we have to wait for the next Financial Year. Even witnesses for this case who are from Lobatse could not be given food,” she said.

She proposed the murder trial to be postponed to June 2023, prompting defense lawyer Letlhogonolo Makgane to protest calling for his client to be granted bail, saying he has been in custody since October 2019.

He tried to argue that the AOJ financial circumstances should not be used to deny accused persons fair access to justice.

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However, Justice Segopolo refused saying his earlier grounds for denying bail to the accused person still stands, adding that if the defense wished to make a new application they should do so without trying to hijack the proceedings.

Makgane is representing Thabang Sibanda who is charged with the murder of Reolebe Serwanye in Lobatse in September 2017.

One of the witnesses told the court that on September 6th 2017, she arrived in Lobatse from Mookane Village in the Central District upon being told about the death of Serwanye.

She said that the police brought two men to the deceased’s compound where the suspects confessed that they entered the house through the kitchen door and found the deceased clothed in a towel as she had just finished bathing.

They told the police that they pushed her to the bedroom, raped her before assaulting and strangling her to death.

They then put her body on the floor between the wardrobe and bed, put stacks of bags full of secondhand clothes before stealing her cellphone and an estimated P700 from her wallet.

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They then locked the door and left the keys on a meter box before leaving, the witness Boikaego Gareitsanye told court.

However, she said that the other accused person who was not before the court said they argued about the rape since their mission was to steal money and not commit rape.

The witness said the deceased was staying alone in her house at Boiteko location in Lobatse.

The matter was adjourned to June 2023 and the accused person will remain in custody until then.


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