Saturday, December 3, 2022

Judgement on murder accused traditional healer set for month end

The Court Of Appeal will deliver judgement on the 26th of this month in a case in which a self-proclaimed traditional healer, Buang Makwati, is challenging his death sentence.

The defense lawyer, Mishingo Jeremia, had asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the conviction and death sentence imposed on Makwati and free him from death row.

Makwati was sentenced to death by Francistown High Court Judge Mpaphi Phumaphi on a single count of murder for killing Kediapare Kelopang in 2007 in Selibe-Phikwe.

He was initially charged alongside one David Maphane who later turned state witness after the prosecution withdrew charges against him and called him as an accomplice witness.

The state prosecutor, Mpho Letsoalo, had agreed that they were in doubt over the evidence the High Court judge had relied upon in sentencing Makwati but was asked by the three judges if he knew the benefit of his doubt.

‘’Yes, I do and the benefit goes to the accused,” said Letsoalo.

This development came when Makwati appeared before a panel of three Court of Appeal Judges, when Jeremia told the court that his client never killed anybody as there is no evidence to support his crime.

“Nobody saw him killing the deceased; there was no supporting evidence at trial court so I urge the Court Of Appeal to set aside the conviction and sentence,” said Jeremia.

He told the court that his client had never pointed out and never even identify any metal pipe he is alleged to have used to kill the deceased. Jeremia said the state had failed to call independent witnesses and relied on the police investigating officer by the name of Detective Sergeant Rapula.

Jeremia said there is no evidence that Makwati┬áhad recovered a steel pipe from the back of Kelopang’s house but it was concluded┬á to have some her DNA, suggesting that the pipe was used to inflict the injuries to the back of her head.

He said the main issue, which the court relied upon, was that he pointed at the metal pipe he used to kill the deceased but during cross examination and even in his confession statement  the accused had consistently denied ever pointing at any metal pipe.

Jeremiah said that the High Court judge had relied on the wrong findings and urged the court to dismiss them and free his client from the hangman.

He said the same police officer who was an investigating officer said there were two witnesses next to him at the crime scene but failed to call any of them to strengthen his evidence but, instead, decided to give evidence together with accomplice witness whose evidence was dismissed as it was of no benefit to the court.

Prosecutor Letsoalo also agreed that indeed the judge had relied on some wrong findings in sentencing the accused to death.

Judgement will be delivered on the 26 of this month.

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