Court proceedings can be too emotional and stressful especially for witnesses once they are inside the box. While others can hold their own against pressure, some can be a disaster for both prosecution and defence. Staff Writer MPHO MOKWAPE takes you inside Morupisi and wife’s ongoing trial
The case of such magnitude can be a make-or-break for witnesses, particularly looking at the calibre of the defence team, and everyone can bet that prosecution and all involved knew it was not going to be a walk in the park.
In cases like this, the only hope and prayer can be premised on that witnesses excel at their level and not crumble under pressure.
Now let’s take a look at what transpired at the start of trial and one can agree that the State had a pretty good start.
It was not at all a train smash as many may had thought or speculated.
She might have been called a liar, evasive and vindictive by the defence and her credibility being questioned during cross examination.
But the first witness to take the stand, Boitumelo Molefe can be credited for “not cracking under pressure” during cross- examination from the defence of Busang Manewe and company despite many things being thrown at her.
Molefhe who was the chief executive officer (CEO)/principal officer during Morupisi’s tenure as Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) Board chairperson, appeared in the box full of confidence and seemingly a bit arrogant as many on the corridors of court said in hushed tones.
What was evident during cross-examination was that despite many objections towards defence for what the State said it was bullying or intimidation of the witness,
The prosecution led by Priscilla Israel constantly objected that Manewe was, amongst, other things bullying, intimidating and at times embarrassing the witness.
Manewe had on numerous occasions poked Molefe, asking questions that the State said were embarrassing to the witness and not inappropriate.
While the State felt that their client needed to be protected, as she was being bullied, embarrassed and intimidated, for the court attendees it was a few moments of little humour on ice.
Below are few of the exchange of words between Molefe and Manewe in court.
Manewe: Are you a sangoma?
Molefe: (pauses) No
Manewe: Do you know how to read?
Molefe: Yes I know how to read.
Manewe: Do you believe in the Bible?
Manewe: Do you know what the Bible says about deceivers?
Manewe: Are you ok Mma Molefe, do you need a break?
Molefe: No I just need water
Manewe: Ok but it is not hot
(Giggles in court)
Israel: (objects) This is not ok, is counsel a doctor now? Why he is taking about the witness’ temperature?
Manewe: Or you want to use the bathroom?
Israel: (objects) My Lord the defence is embarrassing and offending the witness.
Manewe: Mma Molefe did I offend you?
Manewe: I sincerely apologise.
Meanwhile, the case continues and as more witnesses are expected to take the stand, more exchanges and humour are expected to characterise the courtroom.