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Top cop demands M2m defamation damages

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Paseka Mokete is demanding M2 million in defamation damages from his junior who accused him of sexual harassment. This comes after he was acquitted last May of the sexual harassment, assault and malicious damage to property charges brought by Inspector ’Makatleho Mphetho.

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DCP Mokete also cites the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Hlalefang Motinyane in the suit.
He has since lodged a perjury case against Inspector Mphetho whom he said lied under oath during the trial.

DCP Mokete also wants key state witnesses, Inspector Lebeoana Matekane and Lance Sergeant Mathebe Motseki, charged with perjury for giving “contradictory and false testimonies” to allegedly give weight to what he says were “trumped-up charges” that Inspector Mphetho instigated against him.

DCP Mokete this week told the High Court in papers that the damages sought are for the discomfort he suffered due to the malicious prosecution.
Inspector Mphetho launched the criminal case against DCP Mokete in June 2020.

She claimed DCP Mokete manhandled her on April 30. She alleged that he had touched her buttocks during the attack.
She claimed that the buttons of her trousers even fell off as she lurched up to free herself from DCP Mokete’s grip.

She complained that after freeing herself, DCP Mokete pursued her and dragged her back to the car where the fracas had started.
She said the attack was triggered by her refusal to hand back a letter that DCP Mokete had just given her.

DCP Mokete told the High Court that the criminal proceedings against him were “a vengeful and malicious crusade staged at the expense of state institutions through the criminal justice system”.

“(Inspector Mphetho) wrongfully and or unlawfully put in motion the initiation of this prosecution which gave birth to false charges under the auspices of sexual offences.”

DCP Mokete argued that when laying all the charges based on disinformation, Inspector Mphetho and Advocate Motinyane had no probable cause for doing so.
He said Advocate Motinyane did not have any reasonable belief in the truth of the information given.

Attorney Rasekoai said because of Inspector Mphetho and Advocate Motinyane’s conduct, his client “was consequently placed under arrest, charged and consequently prosecuted”.

The court was informed that DCP Mokete was subjected to a publicity-driven criminal trial while occupying a very senior position in law enforcement in the capacity of Deputy Commissioner of Police.

The court further heard that the prosecution yielded a serious taint to his professional esteem and dignity, and bore the potential of damaging his career as a senior police officer.
Attorney Rasekoai said his client is portrayed as an unethical police officer who sexually harasses his colleagues in the law enforcement agency.

Further, his client is portrayed as a law enforcement officer unworthy of his senior position and by extension put the institution that he led into disrepute in that it is led by an unethical person.

Attorney Rasekoai said DCP Mokete has been portrayed as a person of low moral character incapable of maintaining both moral and professional standards towards his female colleagues and women in general.

He told the court that DCP Mokete “was subjected to an arduous and tortuous ordeal of a criminal trial from the year 2020 until the year 2022 when he was finally acquitted of the charges staged against him”.

Attorney Rasekoai said the damages sought should have interest calculated at the rate of inflation as may be determinable by the Central Bank of Lesotho from the date of judgement to the date of payment.

Majara Molupe

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