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AP man on trial for child molestation

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*Accused of raping 12-year-old cousin

Former council candidate for Alliance for Progressives (AP), Taujoruavi Maekopo will be hoping he has more success in the courtroom than he did with the ballot box.

The 25-year-old, who lost out in the Gumare-Tubu South ward at last year’s general elections, is accused of raping his minor cousin back in February 2016.

The case resumed this week, with the complainant and her family appearing before Maun Magistrate Court to testify against the suspect.

The young girl’s father admitted to beating up Maekopo, but told court that was only after the young man confessed to defiling his daughter.

“At first he denied it. But as we pressed him on with questions, he admitted the act and that is when I whipped him.”

The man was responding to Maekopo’s attorney, Lesego Phoi, who suggested he had overreacted and badly assaulted Maekopo for the alleged crime.

“You said he reported the assault to the police. According to you, was this behaviour consistent with that of someone who was being accused of a serious crime?” Phoi asked the father.

However, the dad maintained Maekopo admitted his guilt before he whipped him five times with a sjambok.

LAWYER: Lesego Phoi

Maekopo is being tried for sexual assault and is facing evidence from the two young girls who were sharing a room with his alleged victim, who was 12 at the time.

The AP member is accused of sneaking into the girl’s room at night, where the girls were sharing a bed.

He allegedly lifted his young cousin from the bed, laid her down on a mattress he had positioned on the floor, removed her pyjamas and raped her.

The girl’s evidence, which was held on camera, and that of her family is said to be very consistent with original police statements taken almost four years ago.

The girl maintains that initially she thought she was dreaming but was awoken by a sharp pain of penetration when Maekopo entered her.

It is her word that when she woke up he was still inside her and she pushed him off.

The complainant’s younger sister also claims that she ‘saw Maekopo on top of her sibling with his boxer shorts pulled down’.

The trial is set to continue on 6th March with Maekopo currently out on bail.

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That’s murder, not ‘balls’ defense– court tells convict

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The Gaborone High Court has convicted Boyboy Lesele for the murder of Matshediso Racheru on July 1st, 2015 in Ramotswa.

The bartender was immediately whisked away to prison where he will spend some time before his sentencing next month.

Justice Gabriel Komboni found Lesele guilty after pointing out at loopholes in the accused person’s defence, adding that the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt that he killed the deceased by hitting her with a firewood or log and she died a day later in hospital.

“There is no doubt that the deceased died of the wounds that were caused by the accused person who hit her twice with a blunt object on her head. The deceased sustained two fractures on her skull and there was blood in her brain,” Justice Komboni said in his ruling.

In his Evidence in Chief, Lesele had told the court that he hit his girlfriend after she insulted him as well as his mother, and that she regularly did that when she was drunk.

He said that on the night of the killing, the deceased person who had been drinking with friends at Dinare Bar, had wanted to top up her drunk status by smoking dagga to which he protested.

An argument ensued followed by a physical fight and the deceased grabbed his balls and held tight until he decided to hit her with a nearby firewood, he told the court.

However, State witnesses told the court that they did not hear any argument between the lovebirds despite the proximity of their bedrooms to the fireplace where the killing occurred.

The only eye witness, with whom the deceased had been drinking earlier, told the court that she saw the accused person hit the deceased with the burning log and that she saw burning ashes around Matshediso’s head.

Justice Komboni stated that the accused person’s version of self-defense was an afterthought in that he did not tell the Investigating Officer about how the deceased held tight his balls nor did he go and seek medical attention after the alleged fight.

“This is false. Even if I give the accused the benefit of doubt and assume that the deceased held a grip at his balls, this did not justify the gravity of the assault he inflicted on her. The attack was vicious as there were two fractures on the skull and blood in the brain”.

The judge said that the pathologist report indicates that the accused person used excessive force disproportionate with the pain and the provocation he claims was caused by the deceased.  He pronounced the guilty verdict and revoked Lesele’s bail ordering his immediate arrest. The prosecution and defense will meet again next week when they will argue on whether or not there is existence of extenuating circumstances.

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Police discourage withdrawal of GBV cases

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Botswana Police Service has adopted a policy that discourages withdrawal of Gender Based Violence (GBV) related cases after they have been reported.

 Raising concern during the GBV Pitso ya Borre campaign official launch on Valentine’s Day held at Molepolole bus rank, Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgophe, said it seemed the police are now being used by some women who report cases only to withdraw them at a later stage.

 He said suspects get incarcerated and later on they face challenges of some intending to sue them for that, also that they have reports of victims being murdered following withdrawal of cases which the public end up blaming them.

“The choice of venue for this launch was mostly influenced by the fact that in the recent past Kweneng District experienced a surge of GBV related cases, mostly murder, rape and assault. The frequency at which murder cases were reported was alarming and brought fear to the residents and shocked the entire country,” said Makgophe at the well attended event.

According to the national statistics on GBV crimes, there were 1208 recorded cases of defilement in 2019 compared to 769 in 2018; indicating a 57 percent increase which is 439.

In her keynote address, the First Lady Neo Jane Masisi, appealed to the chiefs, churches, health practitioners, civil society organisations and the public to help GBV committees and the police in fighting GBV.

She encouraged the police to continue spreading the message across the country

Masisi also promised to continue with her mission in supporting GBV campaigns and also to seek assistance from outside the country.

 Pitso ya Borre campaign kick-started on February 8th, 2020 with educational campaigns targeting churches, schools, cattle posts, various organisations and wider male population.

The BPS took advantage of the mood of the day and distributed the roses to the men to present to their loved ones.

Held under the theme ‘Ending Gender Based Violence Starts With Me # emisakgokgontsho,’ the attendees included Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Thomas Kagiso Mmusi and other officials.   

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Son of BDP women’s wing SG accused of forging DIS boss signature

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Yes I was detained and questioned- Maruapula

A man rumoured to be romantically linked to the reigning Miss Botswana, Oweditse Phirinyane was this week allegedly nabbed and questioned for impersonating a Directorate Of Intelligence Services (DIS) agent.

The suspect, Mompati Maruapula is the son of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) women’s wing secretary General, Neo Maruapula.

He reportedly attracted law enforcement officers’s attention by uttering a false document, complete with a forged signature of the Director General of the DIS Peter Magosi as ‘proof” that he was employee of the DIS when he was not.

He allegedly produced the fake proof of employment in an attempt to fraudulently purchase a BMW vehicle limited addition at one of the car dealers in Gaborone, an eyewitness has claimed.

“The car dealership phoned the DIS to confirm and that is when law enforcement agencies were alerted and a sting operation was set in motion to nab him,” the source further narrated.

He was then told to come back at 2Pm for the car only for him to find security agents waiting to catch him.

Asked to comment on the incident Maruapula explained that he was not charged but simply questioned.

“They (Police) said they would get back to me. I have not yet been charged with any crime. I was briefly detained and released yes. It is true,” he said in a brief interview.

The DIS when quizzed about the matter referred The Voice to The Botswana Police.

“I cannot confirm nor deny your questions. Please liase with the Police for a full brief,” DISS spokesperson Edward Robert said.

Miss Botswana also refused to comment saying she would like to keep her private life private and quickly handed the phone to the recently divorced Maruapula who was in her company at the time.

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