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No LSB verdict on disbarring killer attorney posthumously

The Law Society of Botswana (LSB) is still to consider whether to heed two attorneys’ complaint to direct that the late Steve Rankwane be struck off from the roll of practicing attorneys posthumously.

Attorneys Kabo Motswagole and Gosego Lekgowe submitted their plea to the LSB on January 18, 2021 after Rankwane on January 14, 2021 “deliberately and heartlessly caused the death of attorney Ms. Chatapiwa Keakantse by shooting her with a gun, murdering her in cold blood”.

“The late Steve Rankwane killed a fellow attorney, in very horrible circumstances that has left the members of the profession and the nation reeling in shock, pain and absolute disbelief. He then shot himself and committed suicide – and thereby robbed the society of the opportunity to use the criminal justice machinery to exact justice,” Motswagole and Lekgowe wrote.

They duo reasoned that upon admission, an attorney takes an oath to demean himself according to the dictates of the office of an attorney and is ethically expected to behave honorably. Further, an attorney is ethically required to obey the laws of the country.

“We believe and submit that by committing the crime of murder or killing a fellow practitioner and human being, Steve Rankwane

not only breached the national penal law, but also fell afoul of the ethics of the legal profession in his capacity as an attorney. He further failed the basic tenets of humanity, to not cause harm to a fellow human being no matter the basis.”

Thus, having breached national penal law and the ethics of the legal profession, the two argued that Rankwane is not a fit and a proper person to remain on the roll of practicing attorneys, deceased or alive. “We have perused the Legal Practitioners’ Act, the Regulations of the Law Society of Botswana and the general law of the land, and have found no bar against the making of a posthumous complaint against an attorney for professional misconduct. We are therefore convinced that the Law Society of Botswana Disciplinary Committee can and must entertain this matter.”

At the time of going to press, LSB has not responded to the duo or set up a Disciplinary Committee to entertain the matter.


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