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ATI is free, for now

ATI leaving Ext 2 Magistrate Court PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
Extension II Magistrate Kamogelo Mmesi has quashed ATI's charge sheet on grounds that it is defective.

Mmesi also ordered prosecution to go back and amend the charge sheet, if need be.

This followed the rapper’s arraignment Wednesday afternoon after spending a night in a cell at Urban police station.

The Khiring Khiring Khorong hitmaker was arrested and charged with a single count of failure to comply with directions given by an Authorised Officer in a Protected Area contrary to Section 5 (3) of Protected Areas Act 22:01 of Laws of Botswana, a charge that carries a fine not exceeding P2000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both. 

According to the particulars of offence, the Atlasaone Molemogi on the June 23, 2020 at or near the State House One Gaborone, without lawful excuse or right took photographs and video of State House without permission.

After the charge sheet was read to him, his defence counsel led by Advocate Duma Boko pleaded with the court to quash the charge sheet as it was fatally defective. 

According to Advocate Boko, the court could not seat and act on a charge sheet that is woefully short of meeting the standards.

Boko argued that the charge sheet did not have all the relevant facts, as it does not disclose the identity of the complainant, in this case the Authorised Officer who gave directions that ATI allegedly failed to comply with.

He also argued that the charge sheet be quashed because it does not disclose the nature of the orders or directions that particular Authorised Officer gave to ATI. 

According to Boko, Authorised Officers in

this case include police officer in rank of above Sub Inspector, Administration officer in the rank above Cadet or any other person or guard of such area. 

"The provisions are laid out so that it is clear that the Authorising Officer giving directions is of requisite rank, and the person accused of failing to comply then will have to know who the directing officer was. First he has to understand what the case is, so that he prepares his defence. That should spring out in the charge sheet,” argued Boko.

Boko said his client has been placed in an embarrassing set of circumstances and should be set free.

However, state prosecutor King Tshebo said the accused was only arraigned through a holding charge sheet, with intensions to either add or subtract charges.  

Tshebo also said at this time, it was not important to disclose the identity of the Authorised Officer who gave the accused directions as that could be done during the proceedings.

Although he agreed with the defence counsel that the state would not suffer any prejudice if the charge sheet was quashed, he said they intended to make an application for a psychiatric evaluation of the accused.

“Then the court would make a determination whether to remand the accused or release him,” he submitted.

Magistrate Mmesi said the court could not make any determination on a defective charge sheet. As such, she quashed the charge sheet and ordered the state to go back and come up with a fresh one if need be.




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