Of recent, some members of the public have been threatening to take the law into their own hands as an aversive response to the courts granting bailouts to murder accused persons in particular. One example follows an appearance before court recently of a police officer pleading with the magistrate not to grant a murder accused person bail to save his life. The police boss told the court that the accused person’s life was in danger as members of the public had vowed to take the law into their own hands should the accused be seen roaming the streets. It seems the people’s grievances concerning the issue of bailouts has indeed come to a boil, as The Monitor Staffer, PINI BOTHOKO, observes
It seems the perception that police arrest suspects and the courts quickly release them on bail having taken hold has left the general public disappointed by the legal system at work.
Some feel the legal gaps are defeatist to the police mandate of clearing the streets of crime with the guardians of justice deemed more as Job’s comforters.
The situation has reached its boiling point as some members of the public have resolved to take the law into their hands.
For a while members of the public have been threatening to take the law into their own hands as shown through social media footages if they see any suspect roaming the streets after recent arrest.
Weeks ago videos circulated on social media of public members assaulting suspects claiming to be doing so because the courts fail them. They further claim that they are protecting themselves with these assaults.
Representing the prosecution, Tlotlang Balathwa appearing before Extension II Chief Magistrate Batho Kgerethwa last week pleaded with the court to ‘protect’, Aplee Moagi, 32, alleged to have raped and killed a nine-year-old girl last November at White City location in Gaborone by not granting him bail.
He said by doing so, the court will be protecting Moagi from mob justice as members of the public have been threatening to take the law into their hands on social media if they met him on the streets following what he is alleged to have done.
“I am fearing for his life and that of his family from the irate members of the public if granted bail. Moagi has in the previous mention revealed to the court that if he can be granted bail he will go and stay with his grandmother Tshilane Moagi, 80, in Mochudi, but unfortunately she told the police that she cannot afford to accommodate him because she fears to be attacked by the irate public,” Balathwa said.
Balathwa went on to say that even the accused’s mother, who resides in White City, told the police that she too cannot afford to accommodate her own son as she also fears attacks from the raging public.
The police boss further revealed that Moagi has suggested to reside at Sikwane village if granted bail, but still the village is located 30km from Mochudi where he can easily be identified and located.
“Members of the community are still furious. I fear that if the accused person can be granted bail, we will be putting his life in danger. I am pleading
Despite his life being reported to be in danger, Moagi continued to plead with the court to grant him bail. He has also considered appealing his bail at High Court if the lower court continues to deny him.
The issue of bailouts is likely to backfire if not properly handled by the courts. Facebook users have for a while now complained, stating that despite the police’s endless efforts to curb crime by arresting suspects and putting them behind bars, the courts are quick to grant them bail regardless the sensitivity of the offence alleged to have been committed.
Recently, barely 24 hours after he was released from police custody, the notorious Ditiro ‘Jesus’ Ngakane, facing a string of violent crimes and a number of robbery cases, had a video in which he was arrested and assaulted by members of the public circulating on social media.
In their comments on the video, members of the public were irate. They alluded to the fact that ‘Jesus’ was released from custody despite the police having labelled him as ‘most dangerous’.
On arrival at Block 7 where ‘Jesus’ was caught red-handed after breaking into a house, the police found him lying on the ground with members of the public assaulting him.
Last month Facebook users were also fuming after the release of Kgotlaetsile Leonard Gaonakala, 24, and his girlfriend Tsholofelo Kgogo, 25, from custody. They allegedly robbed and killed Moemedi Ranthoka, a cab driver on November 29, 2017 at Mogoditshane.
Angry members of the public blamed the court for granting the duo bail, stating that the matter was still fresh in the minds of the deceased’s family, hence pointing out the need for the public to react and take the law into their hands against such matters.
Yet again, another video recently circulated on social media after a lad was caught red-handed after breaking into a house at Ledumang location in Broadhurst in which members of the public assaulted the suspect.
In the video the irate members of the public voiced out their frustrations concerning suspects that are arrested and released on bail.
Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo recently cautioned members of the public against the perception that police arrest suspects only for the courts to release them on bail as it could backfire if not properly handled.
Dibotelo indicated that this narrative if not handled properly has the effect of setting the public against the judiciary.