Defence lawyer calls for police to testify in murder trial

Friday Leburu
Friday Leburu

Defence lawyer Friday Leburu has expressed frustration over the slow progress in a case in which a Nigerian man was murdered in Gaborone during a robbery.

When appearing before Extension II Magistrate Ntombizodwa Ncube yesterday, Leburu told court that since the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is not mandated with investigations, he preferred to face the investigating authority on the matter, which he said was taking too long.

He also said the State has tied his hands because he cannot probe on how far the investigations are.

“For purposes of progress, the IO(Investigating Officer) must come to court under oath and allow us to cross examine him. We also need an update of progress because for the past few months we have heard nothing. The only person who can give a proper update is the IO,” he said.

Leburu also argued that his clients had been in jail for several months and did not know how far the investigations were, and how much more time they would be behind bars. 

“It has been five months now and the only thing that we are told is that investigations are ongoing. However, investigations are the police’s job, not the DPP,” he said.

Leburu is representing the five accused, Augustine Tembo, Trevor Vandarai, Tawanda Makafura, Chebukani Sibanda and Nduna Khupe, who allegedly robbed a Nigerian family in August 2014 and ultimately killed the 19-year-old man. “The only information we have received from the DPP is that there were socks collected from the scene but at this point it has not been proven how they link to any of the accused or the incident. A blood test was also carried out but there has not been any word on whether they match any of the accused’s DNA,” said the attorney.

For her part, prosecutor Keletso Mfosi submitted to the court that Leburu has no respect for the DPP.

 “A life has been lost and this case must be given the respect that it deserves. All communication is done through the DPP and as far as the State is concerned investigations are ongoing although there is no affidavit yet from the forensic lab,” she said.

Mfosi added that the IO would not be pressurised by the defence lawyer.

“The IO is not going to update Leburu at the time which he deems fit,” said a visibly unhappy Mfosi, in response to Leburu’s claims that investigations in the case are complete.  Magistrate Ncube ruled that the case would continue on July 24, 2015. She also ordered the DPP to inform court whether they would summon the IO as requested by the defence.

The magistrate however dismissed Leburu’s claims that investigations into the matter were complete, citing that the defence lawyer has not brought any evidence to the court that proved that investigations are complete.

According to the case record, on the fateful night of the incident, the suspects broke into the Nigerian family’s house at around 2AM and robbed them of their belongings before killing the deceased. The five accused have been further remanded in custody.

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