Kgathi’s cocaine trial kicks off

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LOBATSE: The long-awaited trial in which Lone Thabang Kgathi, the son of Justice, Defence and Security Minister, Shaw Kgathi, stands accused of cocaine possession, kicks off today at the Magistrate’s court here.

Kgathi (23) of Broadhurst is charged alongside Tumisang Tlhaelang (24), Kgosietsile Dihutso (25), both Phakalane residents and Alpheus Raditladi (25) of Block 5.

The state says the group was found in possession of at least 41 packets of cocaine after being stopped at a police roadblock in Pitsane village on October 12 last year.

Eleven packets were allegedly in the form of blocks, which were sealed inside a biscuit container, whilst 30 were inside a snack container.

The accused were arrested en route from South Africa where the habit-forming drugs were allegedly purchased. Kgathi and his co-accused have been out on bail since their first court appearance.

In a previous appearance, the case was held inside chambers without public access because a court reporter was reportedly absent. Trial dates were set to September 12 but the trial did not take off on that date, as the case was not reflected on the court roll. 

A reschedule to October 12 was reportedly communicated to parties outside the court.

Yesterday, former prosecutor in the case, sub-inspector Dumani Chakasala of Ramatlabama Police Station who initially handled the case before it was handed over to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, said he was not aware of the re-schedule.

“I was not aware of the new date. I thought the trial would commence on September 12,” he said.

Court reporters however stressed that the case would begin today as the case file reflected October 12 as the date for commencement of trial.

The state intends to call more than five witnesses before chief magistrate, Mareledi Dipate.

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