FRANCISTOWN: With a busload of crimes that included rape, robbery,defilement and even murder, a Kgaphamadi man had the audacity to go before the high court to ask for freedom.
Moabi Mor walela, 22 approached the court on Wednesday and asked to be freed to await trial at home where he will commute at appointed times.
Presiding over the case was Justice Lot Moroka who outrightly rejected Morwalela’s pleas, including arguing that he was innocent until proven guilty.
Morwalela and his alleged co-accomplice Modisakgotla Keganeditse, also of Kgaphamadi, landed in hot soup after they allegedly robbed, raped and murdered Grace Keakantse, 74, at her place in Area W on November 2018.
Previously, the High Court had also denied Keganeditse bail. Justice Moroka asked him to furnish reasons he was seeking bailpending the finalisation of his alleged criminal activities. Morwalela responded by saying he was asking to be given bail because “I have not been convicted of any offence. I am just a suspect”.
This prompted Moroka to turn to Neo Machola from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to give reasons why the State was opposing Morwalela’s bail application. Machola reasoned that the applicant was facing three serious offences of robbery, rape and murder.
According to the evidence of the investigating officer, the applicant committed the offences whilst on bail for another offence of defilement.
“We submit that the applicant is not a proper candidate for bail. He has shown that he has the propensity for committing more offences while on bail”.
Machola added that the offences that the accused was charged with carried a minimum sentence of 10 years in jail except murder, which carries the death penalty.
She continued: “The sentences of the crimes the accused allegedly committed may tempt him to abscond from standing trial. This may prejudice the State if he is granted bail since his escape will delay his offences to be tried”. Asked by Moroka if he wished to reply to what Machola said, Morwalela answered in the negative.
Moroka then explained the relationship between being an accused and being granted bail to Morwalela. The judge said Section 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana entitled any accused who is on trial for having committed a criminal offence to be granted bail. However, Moroka stated that if there were reasonable suspicions that accused persons have committed other offences based on prima facie evidence, which may lead to a conviction, the same section says that bail may be denied.
Moroka added: “The evidence before court shows that you were granted bail in connection with the charge of defilement and you went on to commit other serious offences. Therefore, you disqualified yourself from being granted bail. It would be improper for the court to grant you bail under the present circumstances. The court does not have powers to grant you bail again. Therefore, your application for bail pending trial is denied.”
The denial of bail to Morwalela and others who appeared in court on Wednesday follows a recent Bail Pitso that was held at Cresta Thapama Hotel.
During the Pitso that was attended by people from the legal fraternity, chiefs, police officers and others, it became apparent that members of the public were not happy that in some instances, the courts granted bail to people who were alleged to have committed serious offences bail.