Wednesday, June 9, 2021

An odd conflict of interest issue

MENAFN reports some curious events in Lesotho.
A lawyer appointed by the High Court to defend soldiers charged with the murder of Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao has been withdrawn after it became clear (emphasis added) he was conflicted.
The High Court withdrew Advocate Thulo Hoeane's appointment to appear pro deo, which is legal work undertaken without charge, for Corporals Molefi Seitlheko and Marasi ''Moleli yesterday.
It was after the court learnt that Advocate Hoeane prosecuted the two soldiers in the Court Martial for the same case he was about to defend. It also learnt that Advocate Hoeane wrote a column in a local newspaper condemning the soldiers.
[Advocate Hoene] said he took a principled decision to accept the appointment as he already has two other clients in the same case, Corporal Motšoane Machai and Sergeant Motsamai Fako. ''So, it won''t take (much of) the court's time to begin the trial,'' Advocate Mafaesa said.
(Note. On the facts, it would appear immediately clear that there was a conflict of interest.)

A short Amnesty International piece (from June 2016) suggests,
Authorities must ensure that the criminal investigation into the killing of Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao by members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) is thorough and pursued vigorously without undue delay, said Amnesty International today on the first anniversary of his unlawful killing.
Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao was killed on 25 June 2015 by members of LDF who claimed that he was resisting arrest outside Maseru.
However, the (SADC) Commission of Inquiry report into his killing, which was tabled in Parliament on 8 February, found that he had not resisted arrest and his death involved excessive use of force.
He was accused of leading a number of soldiers in a mutiny plot.
The SADC report has also dismissed mutiny claims, finding that “the involvement of Lieutenant-General Mahao on the alleged mutiny plot remains doubtful as there was no evidence to prove his involvement.”
Dozens of soldiers were arrested in connection with the alleged mutiny and 16 of them are still detained at the Maseru Maximum Security Prison.
Lesotho Times has a summary here.

Amnesty International has a little more here.

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