FRANCISTOWN: It never rains but pours for Gobuamang Ntsuape, 35, who is charged with an array of serious offences such as murder and attempted murder.
On Monday, Ntsuape appeared before Justice Barnabas Nyamadzabo for committal of trial in relation to two counts of murder and four attempted murder charges.
Ntsuape is charged with two murder counts in relation to the alleged deaths of a remand prisoner from Zimbabwe, Emmanuel Makolo, and a Botswana Police Service (BPS) Special Constable Thuso Ntosa on December 1, 2016 at Gerald Estates in Francistown.
In addition to the above charges, Ntsuape is facing four counts of attempting to cause the deaths of Karel Ludick, Peter Mothwala, Kemmonye Gabaitse and Otukile Mbatshi still on December 1, 2016 at Gerald Estates.
Ntsuape, who is represented by attorney Othusitse Mbeha, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The alleged offences happened when a team of police officers and prison officials were transporting the prisoners back to prison at the Francistown Centre of Illegal Immigrants (FCII) at Gerald Estates.
The FCII was used as a prison facility when the Francistown State Prison was still undergoing renovations.
Ntsuape was initially charged with two counts of manslaughter and one count of disabling in order to commit an offence.
He allegedly committed the offences on December 1, 2016 by wrestling for the steering wheel of the vehicle used by a prison official to transport prisoners to a prison facility at Gerald Estates.
The state alleges that in the process the driver lost control of the car and it ended up overturning.
The state later made an application to amend the charge sheet leading Ntsuape to face the current charges mentioned above.
Ntsuape’s current trial culminated when he was an on remand prisoner at FCII in relation to four counts of attempted murder, one count of murder and another count of arson.
He allegedly committed the offences on September 13, 2016 at Block 9 location in Francistown at the homestead of his former girlfriend’s parents following the breakup of their love relationship.
When Ntsuape’s trial commenced, Mbeha told the court that
The records, if any, will be used to determine if the person who was driving the car transporting the prisoners to prison was communicating with his mobile phone when the accident, which claimed the lives of two people and left others with multiple injuries, occurred.
Mbeha said: “We have not received opposition from the state regarding this application.”
Prosecutor Gonayaone Ketlhapetswe from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) confirmed that the state was not opposed to the application.
Mbeha also told the court that the state has listed 17 witnesses to testify against Ntsuape.
The attorney also added that he did not adequately consult with his client and was therefore, constrained to file some of the admissions because prison officials kept on moving Ntsuape between different prisons.
“The accused was initially incarcerated at Serowe Prison but he was later relocated to Gaborone Prison. He was also relocated to Mahalapye Prison. As such, I have not been able to adequately consult with the accused because of these constant relocations,” said Mbeha.
Mbeha added: “We were initially intending to admit six witnesses but I need to further consult with the accused concerning the admissions since I have not been able to do so and then file the final list of witnesses we will be admitting. We apply for the postponement of the matter to tomorrow in order to sufficiently consult with the accused.”
In response to what Mbeha said, Ketlhapetswe said that the state was not opposed to the application since it will shorten the trial.
Justice Nyamadzabo ordered: “As agreed, this matter be and is hereby adjourned to Tuesday to allow the defence to adequately discuss this matter with his client in relation to possible admissions. The accused shall be further remanded in custody.”