September 11 suspect wants magistrate’s recusal

The suspect stole hundreds of cigarettes
The suspect stole hundreds of cigarettes

LOBATSE: Lobatse Magistrate, Mareledi Dipate yesterday postponed trial of a 39-year-old Moshupa man charged with shop breaking and theft.

The state accuses Michael Moitato of breaking into Tesco Investments (PTY) Ltd on September 11, 2014 and stealing cash and goods all valued at over P19,000. The incident occurred in Goodhope.

The stolen goods include canned beef, cigarettes, airtime vouchers and sim cards. Prosecutor Tabita Dithole of Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), told the court that they have added three more items to the charge sheet, which they believe the accused person stole.

The trial could not commence yesterday as the accused told the court that he was not feeling well.

“I am not ready for commencement of trial today, I am sick and feeling very weak, I have been sick for the past week. I have a terrible headache and I just saw the statements from two state witnesses who have been added to the previous list,” Moitato said in court. He added that he also intended re-applying for Dipate to recuse himself from the case, as he is afraid the magistrate will be “firm” on him.

He added that he has filed an urgent recusal application at the High Court, in addition to the earlier application that was set aside on grounds that he should give reasons why magistrate Dipate should recuse himself.

Dipate however dismissed the assertion that he would be firm on the accused. He ordered Moitato to furnish the court with medical proof of his health state, failing which the trial would commence today.

“I have never said I am going to be firm on you and you should bring your medical proof along tomorrow. You have been given ample time to complete your urgent application to the High Court but you have not utilised it. Either way, you can still make the application while trial is on. Trial will begin if you do not bring such,” Dipate said.

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