Rape Accused's Mental State Delays Case

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FRANCISTOWN: The case of a man who allegedly raped a boy in 2012 in Masunga village is delayed, as his state of mind is to be determined before the case gets finalised.

The magistrate’s court in Masunga had previously ruled that Koketso Learners was fit to be tried following a recommendation from a psychiatric expert.

However, Learners’ family later produced a previous psychiatric report, which showed that he was not of sound mind. Following his family producing the previous psychiatric report, the lower court in Masunga referred the matter to the Francistown High Court to determine if Learners is fit to stand trial or not. Learners’ case was referred to the High Court in accordance with Section 158 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

The section deals with ‘inquiry by the court as to lunacy of accused’.

Subsections 150(1) and (2) read: l When in the course of a trial or preparatory examination the judicial officer has reason to believe that the accused is of unsound mind and consequently incapable of making his defence, he shall inquire into the fact of such unsoundness;

l If the judicial officer is of the opinion that the accused is of unsound mind, and consequently incapable of making his defence, he shall postpone further proceedings in the case, while subsection 6 reads, “On consideration of a report made to him in terms of subsection (5) the President may order the accused to be confined during his pleasure in a place of safe custody or may take such other course as seems to him proper in the circumstances”. When Learners appeared before Justice Barnabas Nyamadzabo on Friday, Kgomotso Tshekiso from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions told the court that the state has served Learners with the necessary papers on February 19, but he had not replied to the papers.

Tshekiso added that papers were not directly served on Learners but on his mother who was present in court. When asked why he had not replied to the state’s papers while the state has long served him on time, Learners answered: “I don’t understand what is written in the papers since I am illiterate”.

At that moment, Nyamadzabo told Learners’ mother to make meaningful progress in the matter, she should read and explain the papers to Learners and if she is also unable to read and write, she should ask for help from her relatives who can read and write.

Learners’s mother acceded to Nyamadzabo’s advice.

At the end of the hearing, Nyamadzabo adjourned the matter to August 21 for ruling, ordered the accused to file his heads of argument on or before April 31 before 12.45pm and extended his bail on condition that he attends court as and when required to do so.

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