I was crushed by the state - Moodley

2012-01-26 14:22
Video

Donovan Moodley back in court

2012-01-27 08:10

Convicted murderer Donovan Moodley is seen at the High Court during a bid to get a retrial. Moodley was found guilty in 2005 for the murder of student Leigh Matthews.WATCH

Johannesburg - Convicted killer Donovan Moodley has told the South Gauteng High Court he wished he had the opportunity to tell the story of his false prosecution on television, saying an overzealous prosecution which did not match evidence to his affidavit was to blame for his wrongful conviction.

"I was a young, defenceless man who was crushed by the weight of the State," Moodley said, representing himself in his bid to get a retrial.

He said the statement he gave when pleading guilty in the trial seven years ago was not corroborated by police investigation.

"The public have been led to believe that something has been investigated that never was."

Moodley said his home, including cupboards and two deep freezers where a body could have been hidden, were never searched or forensically tested.

Confession

He was found guilty in 2005 of student Leigh Matthew's murder and kidnapping and the extortion of her father. Moodley was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, 15 years for kidnapping, and 10 years for extortion.

He began his application for a retrial on Wednesday.

Earlier on Thursday, prosecutor Zaais van Zyl argued that Moodley was afforded the opportunity to tell the court if he had been coerced into making his confession in the original trial.

"He was asked, have you read the statement? Do you understand the statement?... Do you plead guilty of your own free will?" he quoted from the 2005 transcript.

Van Zyl said Moodley had the chance then to tell his version of the truth, if he had lied originally. Moodley claimed on Wednesday that the former investigating officer in the case, Piet Byleveld, had tortured him during his interrogation and abused his power to ensure his conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

Moodley said he wished he could get a clip of an Oprah Winfrey show he once watched about innocent people who pleaded guilty.

'Media circus'

He directed a comment to Matthews's mother for a statement she had made to the media.

"Mrs Matthews, I never claimed to be Jesus."

Judge Joop Labuschagne interjected: "That is irrelevant to your case".

Van Zyl objected on the grounds that Moodley was using the court as a "media circus".

"This is a gross abuse of these proceedings."

- News24 earlier reported that Moodley wanted to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Sapa has since issued a correction, saying that Moodley said he wished he could get a clip of an Oprah Winfrey show he once watched about innocent people who pleaded guilty and not that Moodley wished he could tell his story on the Oprah Winfrey show.

- SAPA
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