Walia refuses to recuse himself in murder trial

High Court Judge, Justice Singh Walia, refused to recuse himself in a case in which Patrick Chirunga is accused of murdering a University of Botswana professor early this year.

Chirunga’s attorney, Friday Leburu, moved an application for Judge Walia to recuse himself on Friday where he indicated that the judge should recuse himself because he had pre-judged the case.

Leburu moved the application when the murder case was supposed to resume for trial.
Leburu’s argument was that the judge had concluded that the matter was urgent after they brought an application for bail on urgency where the judge pronounced that the matter was not urgent though he never heard arguments about urgency.

Leburu’s argument was that the judge had pre-judged the matter  by arriving at a conclusion that the matter was not urgent without listening to the matter on urgency.

In his argument, Leburu further noted that though he made an urgent application for bail the judge wrote to the registrar notifying him that the matter was not urgent.

He further argue that for the judge to have arrived at such a conclusion, it clearly indicated that the judge would not be fair when dealing with his client.
An application for the judge to recuse himself came after the attorney representing Chirunga reported Walia to Chief Justice and Judicial Service Commission for misconduct.

The Chief Justice and Judicial Service Commission has not yet responded to a complaint by Chirunga’s lawyer.
Leburu stated that he was surprised that the judge had taken such a decision though he never took time to hear the issue of bail application on urgency which goes against the rules and procedure of the High Court.

This morning Walia refused to recuse himself where he told the court that the  judiciary in Botswana is  independent .
He also ruled out the possibilities that he would be biased when hearing the matter. The matter will be heard on Friday.