recusal

Lesotho CJ ‘wrong’ to punish lead counsel in high profile murder, treason case – appeal court

A new decision from Lesotho’s highest court has made some uncomfortable findings about the country’s Chief Justice, Sakoane Sakoane. Three judges from outside Lesotho, brought in to hear the matter to ensure there could be no allegations of partiality given those involved, found that the Director of Public Prosecutions was not unreasonable in her apprehension of bias on the part of the CJ.

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A fractious dispute between Lesotho’s Chief Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions has been decided by the Court of Appeal: three foreign appeal judges found the CJ had shown a pattern of conduct from which it was reasonable for the DPP to conclude that the CJ was possibly biased against the DPP and its lead counsel, controversial SA advocate Shaun Abrahams.

Controversial South African advocate barred by Lesotho CJ from prosecuting treason, murder case

Controversial advocate, Shaun Abrahams, forced from his top prosecution job in South Africa, has been hauled over the coals by Lesotho’s Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane for his behaviour in a bitterly contested trial, and has been barred from further participation in the matter. Since he was dropped as the national prosecuting boss in SA, Abrahams has also had a not very successful stint prosecuting in Botswana. He was brought in to help the prosecuting authorities in Lesotho with a series of high-profile, politically sensitive murder and treason cases.

Read judgment on LesLII

 

The case from which former top South Africa prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams, has now been barred involves Lesotho’s former army commander, Lieutenant General Kennedy Kamoli and five others, charged with treason, murder and assault.

Test of judicial impartiality, independence, for Eswatini judges

A case pending before the Supreme Court of Eswatini, and due for hearing at the end of August, could be a crucial test of judicial independence in the country. Lawyers involved in the case say at least three of the five judges due to preside when the case is called, are candidates for recusal. The appeal is due to deal with a high court’s declaration that key sections of Eswatini’s terrorism and sedition laws were unconstitutional.


Read the high court decisions

 

At issue in the pending appeal is a crucial majority decision in the high court, finding that essential elements of Eswatini’s terrorism and seditions laws were unconstitutional.

But the appeal against that judgment, originally made in 2016, has not been able to be heard because of the shortage of supreme court judges in Eswatini.

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