LSB rep resigns from Judicial Service Commission

The Law Society of Botswana (LSB) representative to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has resigned. Marvin Torto quit the commission with effect from November 16, 2015.

According to documents seen by Mmegi, the Commission has already written to the LSB asking for Torto’s replacement.

“We have received resignation of your representative Mr Marvin Torto from the Judicial Service Commission with effect from 16 November 2015. We will be grateful to have his replacement nominated, so that we can make the necessary arrangements for his/her membership,” JSC secretary, Michael Motlhabi wrote to the LSB.

Torto came under attack from the LSB in September for participating in the process for the appointment of two acting judges of the High Court and allegedly not informing the Society.  The appointment of acting judges came after President Ian Khama suspended four judges, Key Dingake, Modiri Letsididi, Mercy Garekwe and Ranier Busang, for alleged misconduct.  At the time, LSB chair, Lawrence Lecha told members that Torto had gone against the common position of the Society’s Council.

“The LSB informed members that the JSC proposed a process where names would be drawn from those who had previously applied for positions of judge, and that LSB, through its representative on the JSC would be allowed to submit names to be considered,” Lecha wrote on September 16.

“The LSB position however was that it was not adverse to the appointments but objected to the process that was to be followed and therefore the LSB representative would not participate in such process.”

“It emerged however on September 15 that one appointment was made on September 11 and the said Judge [Godfrey Radijeng] took oath and started sitting on the 14th.

“Members are advised that at the time of the meeting on 14th September, Council of the LSB was not aware of this fact.

“The LSB representative (Torto) has since advised that he participated in a process at the JSC through which two attorneys were considered and recommended to the President for appointment as Acting Judges of the High Court.” Lecha said the LSB was “obviously concerned” that Torto had not updated the Society on the developments.

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