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Lawyers challenging Lesotho first lady's bail raise concerns over ACJ's conduct

Lawyers challenging the bail of murder accused Lesotho first lady Maesiah Thabane in the appeal court said that they were struggling to obtain a date.

FILE: Lesotho prime Minister Thomas Thabane (L), leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) political party, his wife 'Ma Isaiah Ramoholi Thabane and Zambian President Edgar Lungu (R) attend Thabane's inauguration on June 16, 2017 in Maseru. Lesotho's new prime minister took office at the head of a coalition government, three years after he was targeted by a putsch and two days after the murder of his estranged wife. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers challenging the bail of murder accused Lesotho first lady Maesiah Thabane in the appeal court said that they were struggling to obtain a date.

Thato Sibolla, the survivor of the shooting that killed Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane’s second wife Lipolelo in 2017, wants the appeal court to review Maesiah’s bail.

Police say Maesiah was dangerous and should be considered a flight risk because she had fled the country.

She's appearing in the magistrates court on Tuesday but her bail was granted by acting Chief Justice Maseforo Mahase under dubious circumstances.

Sibolla was shocked when the high court granted Maesiah Thabane bail hours after she was charged by the magistrate’s court for Lipolelo’s murder and her attempted murder.

Sibolla and Lipolelo’s nephews had asked the appeal court to review that bail and police were supporting them.

Their lawyer, Kuili Ndebele, said that they are still waiting for a date.

"But we are struggling to obtain a date of hearing because it requires the engagement of a full bench of the court of appeal, meaning at least 3 judges of the appeal and we heard there are logistical issues."

Ndebele said that acting Chief Justice Mahase granted Maesiah bail even though she had fled and this had cast a doubt on her independence.

"In terms of how the ACJ of late is doing things, it was a concern. First of all, how did she get the matter? Number two, the way she handled it was of concern, not just to me as a lawyer but to all who are concerned and affected by her decision."

He said he hoped the appeal court would restore faith in the system.

Meanwhile, Maesiah Thabane is set to appear today before the magistrate’s court as part of her trial conditions and to show that she is still within the jurisdiction of the court.

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