Gaborone High Court Judge, Terrence Rannowane, yesterday dismissed Longhurst Holdings’ objection that one of Hewlett Packard (HP) witnesses not be allowed to give evidence.
Longhurst wanted the second and last witness for HP, not to be allowed on the stand because they (Longhurst) were not notified in time that he would be taking the stand and that he was an expert. Owen McIntyre is an expert from Chasewaterford Company in South Africa dealing with investigating and identifying counterfeits. He was roped in to investigate HP products sold by Longhurst at a cheaper price and suspected to be counterfeits. Rannowane dismissed the objection saying that the applicants have prior to the case, indicated that they would be bringing an expert and that Longhurst did not object. “The defence was notified of the second witness and as such there is no element of surprise because they had plenty of time to object but they chose not to,” he said. Longhurst attorney and director, Gabriel Kanjabanga had applied that the witness be dismissed on the basis that they did not receive any notice that the expert would take the stand. “Notice must be given to the other party so that the element of surprise can be dealt with. I was not given any notice that HP would be calling an expert and I find it difficult to deal with him,” he said.
Kanjabanga said a notice was done according to the rules of court and law in order to allow the other party to know how others intend to proceed with the case so that they can prepare well in time.
He further submitted that he would find it very difficult to deal with the witness because his (expert) summary of evidence and findings did not include any reasons or his own opinions.
“In his findings he only said he purchased two toners and he concluded that they were fake and nothing else,” he said. However HP attorney, Reinard Michau, said the objection should not be entertained because they had long indicated that the expert would be part of the case. He said even on the last day of the case management, the expert was present and the defence had not objected to his presence.
“We have only two witnesses and we have indicated that they would be taking the stand and there was no objection. We now feel the objection is just a delaying tactic,” he said. Longhurst Holdings has been a centre of investigations by HP and the Criminal Investigations Department since 2013 for allegedly selling HP products including ink cartridges and toners at a cheaper price, raising suspicions of them being counterfeit goods. The case continues.