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Decision to charge Tom Thabane now in the hands of the High Court

The prime minister appeared briefly in court on Monday where his lawyer asked the magistrate to refer the matter for constitutional interpretation.

Lesotho PM Tom Thabane (foreground) appears in the Maseru Magistrates Court accompanied by his wife Lesotho First Lady Maesiah Thabane, son Potlako Thabane, Water Minister Samonyane Ntsekele, senior private secretary Thabo Thakalekoala among others. Picture: Nthakoana Ngatane/EWN.

MASERU - The Lesotho Magistrate Court in Maseru on Monday referred the question of whether Prime Minister Tom Thabane could be charged for murder to the High Court.

Thabane appeared in court briefly where his lawyer asked the magistrate to refer the matter for constitutional interpretation.

The prime minister was supposed to be charged for the murder of his second wife Lipolelo Thabane and the attempted murder of her friend Thato Sibolla.

He failed to appear in court on Friday, saying he had gone for medical treatment in South Africa, but police rejected his sick leave after it emerged that the doctor who issued it consulted him by telephone.

Magistrate Phethise Motanyane approved the application for referral to the Constitutional Court.

“The questions that the defence seeks to refer to the High Court, sitting as a Constitutional Court, is whether the sitting prime minister can be criminally charged. The application for the referral of the matter is granted,” he said.