Another long wait for six police officers

Six police officers accused of killing Italy Setlaampoloka will have to wait a little longer to know their fate following the postponement of their case to March 2016.

The police officers are Detective Assistant Superintendent Thuso Dintwe, Sub Inspector Ranto Mmeleki, Constable Tebogo Khutsafalo, Constable Kabo Ramohibidu, Constable Michael Ramohitshane and Constable Patrick Gobotswang.

The case was scheduled for a two-day trial between yesterday and today with more witnesses to take the stand but was moved further by five months.

This is despite the officers’ plea that the case be concluded as soon as possible arguing that the suspension from duty was weighing down on them.


Their lawyers, Busang Manewe and Kgosiitsile Ngakaagae, had at the last trial meeting pleaded for a speedy trial.

Manewe had submitted that the officers were in limbo about their future as they have been suspended since 2009 and were on half salaries. “The case has been dragging on for more than six years now and the officers are suffering as they cannot do anything with the charges hanging over their heads; they need to know their fate to move on,” he said. According to court papers, Setlampoloka of Mahalapye was found dead near Gabane on July 30, 2009, a day after his arrest and detention at Mogoditshane Police Station. It was reported that Setlampoloka was arrested by members of the Serious Crimes Squad in connection with a spate of armed robberies.

It is further alleged that Setlampoloka died while being tortured by police attempting to extract a confession from him.

Allegedly the police took his body to Senamakola farmlands near Gabane where they simulated a suicide by hanging his body from a tree.

The six policemen face more charges connected to the death including unlawful disposal of the body to cover their tracks. Only Gobotswang faces one more charge of destroying evidence. All have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Manewe represents Dintwe, Ramohitshane and Gobotswang, while Ngakaagae represents Mmeleki, Khutsafalo and Ramohibidu.

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