Accused is prejudiced - Judge

FRANCISTOWN: Justice Dr Kholisani Solo said that an applicant who has been applying for bail pending appeal for a year is being prejudiced.

The applicant told the court that he has been coming to court since August last year to apply for bail pending appeal but the prosecution would either not show up or say that his trial record was missing.

Solo ordered that the state should produce the record within 30 days or the applicant would be released on bail anyway.
Otlaarongwa Ramokganedi was tried and sentenced by the Francistown Magistrate Courts in 2009 for breaking into and stealing from a bar. His two co-accused have so far been released on bail pending appeal but he is still struggling to get his.

Solo expressed concern at the lack of progress in the matter. He said that the applicant had been to his courtroom on numerous occasions but could not get any help.

"The record before court here does not have judgement or sentence. It is incomplete and has numerous mistakes and the court cannot depend on it," he said.

He said that the applicant is in prison serving a sentence and that though the principles of law are clear without a record the court was handicapped and could not make any move.

"I was once inclined to grant him bail. He is being prejudiced one way or another," said Solo. 
Ramokganedi was convicted and sentenced by the now regional magistrate Lorraine Makati-Lesang and Solo has made an order that she avail the record to the court within 30 days or the applicant would be released on bail.

"If the record is not produced by then we will take it from there and probably release the applicant on bail," he said.
State attorney Godfrey Makofi said that the guiding principle should be in the interest of justice. He said that the applicants should motivate the court in his prospects of the appeal and the state would rebut.  He said that it was indisputable that there was evidence linking the applicant to the offence.

Ramokganedi said that the prosecution were given several chances to bring the record but failed.  "I started coming to court last August and up to now I have not received help. The prosecutor has always said he would bring the record but has not even up to now," he said. The case has been set for September 2.

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