Byleveld abused his power - Moodley
Johannesburg - Convicted murderer Donovan Moodley began lengthy argument in the South Gauteng High Court on Wednesday in an application for a retrial.
"Donovan Moodley has become persona non grata, untouchable. Even people close to me refused to give testimony and don't want to be associated with the case," he told the court, representing himself.
Moodley was found guilty in 2005 after confessing to the kidnapping and murder of 21-year-old Bond University student Leigh Matthews. He also pleaded guilty to extortion. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, 15 years for kidnapping, and 10 years for extortion.
Moodley, who appeared in court in leg irons, went back down to the holding cells before court proceedings started because he objected to the presence of the media's cameras.
He eventually acquiesced to their presence, but referred frequently to his belief that information leaked to the media had vilified him.
Moodley expressed surprise that Judge Joop Labuschagne, who presided at his trial, would hear the matter.
"I do not object to you being judge. The look on your face is always very disarming," he said.
Moodley also claimed the previous investigating officer Piet Byleveld had "abused his power" by changing dates and destroying evidence. Byleveld had caused Leigh's father Rob to change his witness statement, he claimed.
Dressed in an oversized suit and sporting a ponytail, Moodley appeared confident as he explained why he had chosen to represent himself. He recounted his estrangement from his aunt, who had promised to pay a deposit for legal fees, but did not. This was his explanation why it had taken him so long to apply for a retrial.
Labuschagne asked Moodley to expedite his argument, then called a brief adjournment.
Prosecutor Zaais van Zyl said the application was without precedent in South African law. While Moodley viewed the matter as an application for retrial, the most favourable outcome for him would be to ask for leave to appeal against his conviction, Van Zyl said.