Suspected ‘rapist’ ordered to relocate



MASERU – The Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday this week temporarily released an 18-year-old man from Mantša-Tlala, Ha Ntsi, who is accused of raping a disabled girl, on condition that he seeks alternative accommodation to avoid any interference with the victim. Santile Makhetha, who appeared before Magistrate ’Makopano Rantšo and Prosecutor ’Mamotloheloa Rabale, was granted M4,000 bail, which he managed to pay.

Besides ordering his relocation to another place pending the finalisation of the matter, the court also instructed him to attend all bail hearings and stand trial to finality. When the charge was read and explained, Makhetha acknowledged he understood and was informed of his legal rights. These rights include the option to post bail and the choice to obtain legal representation. Following the briefing Makhetha, who also professed his innocence, applied for bail.

Evidence before court shows that earlier on March 10, he engaged in a sexual act with a mentally handicapped girl from his home village of Ha Ntsi on the outskirts of Maseru. During the hearing, the victim, whose identity is being protected, expressed fears about the possibility of further unwanted sexual advances by the accused. In response to court queries, Makhetha confirmed his plan to relocate and reside with his sister in Ha Mabote, Berea. His sister was present in court and verified his intentions.

The accused is set to return to court on April 30 for set-down. In a separate but similar case, Makhangoa Tšosane, 38, on April 24, appeared before Magistrate Rantšo and Prosecutor Chopho on charges of rape. He was granted bail for M2,000 on condition that he does not interfere with Crown witnesses, must attend all remands, and must stand trial when required. The incident in question allegedly occurred on April 16, in Letsatseng, Ha Tšosane, in Maseru.

Tšosane is accused of raping his 27-year-old house helper. But his lawyer, Advocate Makhera, requested bail, saying his client is a first-time offender, has co-operated fully with the police, and supports his family by driving his parents’ taxi, making an income. He suggested the bail amount be set at M500, mentioning that the victim needs to be compensated for her salary to return home.

Prosecutor Chopo said there were no objections to granting bail, provided arrangements were made for the victim to receive her salary and personal belongings to facilitate her return home. The complainant expressed her opposition to the accused being granted bail, visibly upset by the events. The case is scheduled for a remand hearing and a possible mediation on May 6.

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