Acting judges sworn-in


Justice Semapo Peete during the swearing-in at the High Court on Monday


MASERU – Two acting judges of the High Court of Lesotho were on Monday morning sworn-in by Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane at the High Court in Maseru.

The two, Justices Peete Semapo Peete and Tšabo Matooane, form part of three judges the judiciary has engaged to mitigate the backlog of criminal cases at the courts due to inadequate number of judges on the bench.

According to the Public Relations Officer of the judiciary, ‘Mabohlokoa Mapikitla, the third judge will be announced and sworn in due course.

The judges have been assigned criminal cases for the next three months beginning immediately after swearing-in.

Justice Peete is recalled from retirement after leaving the bench with Justice Teboho Moiloa on July 31, 2020; contributing to an already huge existing backlog of cases in the hands of country’s judges. The backlog is estimated at over 4 000 cases.

Mapikitla told Public Eye that Justice Peete has been roped in to deal with the backlog due to his experience as a long serving member of the High Court bench.

The High Court bench currently comprises of less than 10 judges.

The bench was made up of 13 judges for several years, until it was brought down to 11 following the death of Justice ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane and the resignation of former Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara. The subsequent promotion of then Magistrate Polo Banyane to acting judge increased the number to 12 judges.

Two judges, Lebohang Molete and Lisebo Chaka-Makhooane in 2020 died in less than two months of each other, doing another blow to the already dire situation within the judiciary.

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