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My broke client didn’t murder pensioner - lawyer

Publishing Date : 08 January, 2018


Defence attorney in a death sentence appeal, Mishingo Jeremia has decried that his client was convicted and sentenced to death for the mere fact that he was ‘broke and urgently needed money’ at the time his ‘victim’ was killed.

The convict, a death row inmate, Tsholofelo Maselwa on April 19, 2009 is said to have killed Chifana Ndaya, 70, of Zwenshambe in the northern district. According to Jeremia the evidence at the trial was not sufficient as to justify the conviction. “The fact that the appellant urgently needed money as found by the judge on the one hand, and that the deceased had been paid his old age pension on the other hand did not necessarily connect the appellant to the death of the deceased,” states Jeremia in his arguments filed before court.

The court heard that one of the state witnesses met with the appellant a few days before the tragedy, whereupon the appellant indicated that he needed money as he wanted to go and look for a piece job at Sua Pan. It was then that the witness arranged for a piece job and later paid the appellant P100. It was also established that the deceased had been paid his old age pension the day the appellant finished his piece job at the witness’ house and left to another village.

Jeremia argued that the finding that the appellant’s motive was to rob the deceased of his old age pension was an error, citing that it was not supported by the evidence. Jeremia stated that there were so many problems with the finding and that is speculative. “The fact that someone is broke and does not have money, and that the deceased had earned his pension of P220, could never connect the appellant to the death of the deceased, in the absence of evidence.”

He also dismissed the evidence that when the appellant was arrested he was wearing a jean which was found to have blood stains of the deceased. He said there were reasons why there was doubt as to whether when the deceased was arrested he was wearing the trousers in issue. This notwithstanding, the state has urged the court to throw out the appeal.



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