Sunday, November 1, 2020

Murderer pins hope on cock and booze story

A Molepolole condemned ritual murderer will be banking on a cock and booze story to save him from the hangman’s noose.

Themba Joina, the lawyer representing death row inmate, Sepeni Popo, who was found guilty of murdering a Molepolole woman for ritual purposes is expected to urge the court of appeal judges to either rule that the state has failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and acquit his client or, alternatively, that if it finds that the conviction was proper the Court should find that extenuating factors exist in the case and sentence him to an imprisonment term commencing on 4 October, 2004.

Joina wants the court to understand the murder in the context of the rural setting it was committed in where villagers believe in witchcraft and muti.

To illustrate his argument about the backwardness of the place where the condemned man is from, Joina is expected to cite a quotations from one of the witnesses who, when asked how he remembered an incident as having taken place at 12, 00 when he does not have a watch stated that: “I am guessing because in Molepolole the cocks crow at 12, 00”.

Joina is also expected to submit that there is evidence suggesting that on the day of the ritual murder, the condemned man and his colleagues had spent the whole day drinking on empty stomachs and were illiterate. He will further submit that in the appeal, court should adopt a subjective test and not an objective one as the High Court judge has done.

In his submissions, Joina is also expected to argue that the statement made by the accused that “I plead guilty because I was used, if I was not used I would not plead guilty”, subjectively indicate that the appellant at the time of the committing the crime had no independent mind and that he was mentally coerced. Joina maintains that his client thought that he had no option other than to commit the offence because of pressure from his users.

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