The Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security is disturbed by inaccurate media reports suggesting that the Attorney General, the Minister and other senior government officials unlawfully and forcefully removed a child from the biological parents. Nothing can be further from the truth, as the Minister of Defence Justice and Security explained to The Gazette reporter, the child was removed and handed over to its lawful parents pursuant to a court order.
The background facts of this matter are in the public domain, and are contained in a Court of Appeal judgment handed down on 19 May 2014 in the case between Deborah Jan Kirsten Mey and Joshua July Case No. CA CGB-134-13. The conclusion of the Court of Appeal that the granting of custody of the child to the adoptive father (Joshua July) was flawed and declaring the orders made by the High Court a nullity brought that matter to finality. It was then left open to the adoptive mother (Ms Mey) to approach the Courts seeking the setting aside of the order that rescinded the adoption order of the child and the enforcement of the Court of Appeal’s judgment.
In other words, the Order envisaged appropriate steps being taken in the lower courts. Indeed on 6 August 2014, following the handing down of the judgment of the Court of Appeal in May 2014, Ms. Mey successfully approached the Letlhakane Magistrates Court, seeking enforcement of the judgment and orders of the Court of Appeal.
This triggered an Application for Stay of Execution brought by the Boteti Sub District, on the 13th August 2014, which was dismissed. The application for stay of Execution having been dismissed, it remained only for the Letlhakane Magistrates Court Order to be implemented. To this end, the child was handed to the adoptive mother Deborah Jan Kirsten Mey on 29 August 2014. This was also in fulfillment of the order of the Court of Appeal in Civil Application No. CACGB 134/13.
Appropriate returns have been filed in the record of the Magistrate’s Court, which, to our belief, is accessible by the public, including the private media. Had the latter bothered to do so, they would have learnt that the child in question remains a citizen of Botswana and that the adoptive parent has solemnly undertaken to cooperate with the Botswana authorities should she be called upon to do so in the best interests of the child.
The distorted and false stories which appeared in The Gazette Newspaper, Sunday Standard and the Telegraph are in the circumstances therefore uncalled for and regrettable and not in furtherance of the public interest. The public and the nation are assured that the Government will continue to ensure that the rule of law prevails in this country and, to that extent, will always ensure the enforcement of and/or compliance with court orders.
Finally, to the extent that the Court of Appeal panel of three eminent judges unanimously ruled in favour of the adoption, we find the suggestions that Botswana adoption laws are regressive and/or that the adoption was unlawful preposterous and contemptuous. It is very unfortunate that views of alleged experts are being given prominence over the courts of law which listened to full evidence and heard full arguments of both parties’ and or their lawyers. The public is urged to ignore such misleading reports.
Samma G. Tabudi
Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security
Editor’s note: We stand by our story. Furthermore, the rebuttal does address why the Minister, the Attorney General and even the Police Commissioner had to be involved in law enforcement.