Prisoner boycotts court proceedings

Inmates often allege abuse by prison warders
Inmates often allege abuse by prison warders

FRANCISTOWN: The wheels of justice came to a temporary halt yesterday after prisoners on remand at the Francistown State Prison failed to attend court citing ill treatment by prison warders.

Prosecutor Archie Makgoa told Principal Magistrate Dumisani Basupi that he was constrained to continue with his case because the accused person in the matter did not come to court over claims of ill treatment meted on them by prison officials.

Mmegi learned that the prisoner’s non-appearance at court did not only affect court proceedings in Basupi’s court but was a problem that affected all the courts. Only remanded female prisoners attended their mentions as scheduled.

According to officers who spoke on condition of anonymity, one prisoner was badly beaten by prison warders on Tuesday night and sustained serious injuries that led to his hospitalisation.

This apparently did not go down well with other prisoners who said that they have been subjected to torture by warders for a long time but their pleas fell on deaf ears when they reported the matter to the top command.

The prisoners reportedly told the warders that they would not attend court until their concerns were addressed.

Meanwhile, Basupi ruled that the state has established a prima facie case against Atlholang Mojanki for allegedly causing malicious damage to property.

The state alleges that Mojanki burnt a Toyota Corolla belonging to Letsweletse Matome on April 21, 2012 at Mmei Community Junior Secondary School.

Mojanki through his attorney Kabelo Gaonyadiwe had applied for a no case to answer. Passing ruling, Basupi said that the state has proved that there is evidence linking Mojanki to the offence.

He said that Mojanki burnt the car at the home of Segolame Tshekiso who was his girlfriend. He added that on two occasions Mojanki told Tshekiso’s son that he was going to burn the car.

Basupi said that Mojanki also told Tshekiso’s son that he made an investigation and found that the car belonged to Tshekiso’s other boyfriend who is a soldier.

Continuation of trial is set for April 9.

In another matter before Basupi, Tobekani Nsimbi, pleaded guilty to submitting a false Madirelo Trade and Testing Centre certificate in order to gain employment at Francistown City Council last year in September.

Basupi granted Nsimbi bail on condition that he pays P500, brings two sureties who shall each pay P200, report at Central Police Station every Monday between working hours and attends court when needed.

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