Judges reject government evidence

February 21, 2006

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As the court case deciding the fate of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen continues, judges this morning upheld an objection by the Bushmen's attorney that the government lawyer had attempted to introduce evidence previously banned by the court.

The government attorney, Sidney Pilane, had tried to enter as evidence a 2005 report on the Bushmen's land, despite the court making an order last August that the report was not admissible because it had been written a year after evidence began.

Mr Pilane is the same lawyer who last September ordered police to open fire on the Bushmen with teargas and rubber bullets as they attempted to take food and water to their relatives within the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

Arguments about the evidence and an adjournment to decide on the issue took three days valuable court time in a case that is already well behind schedule. The Bushman case is already the longest and most costly in Botswana's history, despite being brought by the country's poorest inhabitants.

The case continues today with the cross-examination of government witness Dr. Kathleen Alexander.