Duma Boko and Ookeditse Maphakwane, the two lawyers representing Michael Molefe and Brandon Sampson who were on Friday sentenced to death for murdering two Zimbabweans back in 2000 in Mogoditshane, have vowed that they will appeal against both conviction and sentence of their clients.
Speaking shortly after their clients were driven back from the Lobatse High Court to the Gaborone Central Prison where they will be shifted to the death row section, the two lawyers said that the sentences had a lot of misdirections which they want to take to the Court of Appeal.
As an example of the misdirections, Maphakwane said that the judgment had, to a large extent, relied on evidence given to the Court by what is believed to be a police informer, a certain Goitseone Sekhumba, who did not finish cross examination but disappeared into thin air before cross examination was over.
This witness, he said, had just lied to the Court and that to avoid his lies being exposed he just disappeared.
This, he said, speaks volumes about the sentence which they now intend to appeal.
Maphakwane also said their appeal will be against both conviction and sentence and that even if he cannot win against his client’s conviction he will win against the sentence of death.
Boko, on the other hand, said that he was of the view that even the confession statements the accused persons are alleged to have made and which were used in Court were not made voluntarily as should have been the case. Earlier in the same trial, Dibotelo, in a trial within a trial, ruled that the confessions were made voluntarily after the accused persons had claimed they were not made voluntarily.
He also said that there were a lot of clear misdirections in the sentence they now seek to appeal against at the Court of Appeal.
On his personal view on the issue of the death penalty, Boko said that it was a very degrading form of punishment which he said was also barbaric and which has no place in our modern society.
On the other hand, Emma Ncube, the young sister to the murdered Robert Ncube said that she was happy that the case had come to an end. According to her, if she had the choice she would have asked for the government to spare the men’s lives but that it was all up to the government.
The death of his brother, she said, had left her with five orphans that she now cares for. Asked to describe his brother, she said that he was a kind man who made his living by engaging in upholstery.
She denied that he could have been engaged in the crime Molefe accused him of. Besides her, there were also some family members of the condemned men who were crying for their beloved ones. Molefe’s family members had traveled from South Africa for the occasion.
Heavily armed members of the Special Support Group provided security.