Advocate took 10 minutes to convince judges to release man wrongly jailed for murder

2016-06-01 11:52
Marcus Mulaudzi. (Supplied to News24)

Marcus Mulaudzi. (Supplied to News24)

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Bloemfontein – Advocate Mokotedi Mpshe said it took him 10 minutes to convince the judges in the Supreme Court of Appeal that Marcus Nndateni Mulaudzi, who had spent 10 years in jail, needed to be acquitted for the murder of a prominent school principal.

"This man has spent 10 years behind bars for no reason. It is a sad story, but now I feel I have done good for humanity by representing him. I feel good that we won the case," Mpshe told News24 on Tuesday.  

"I even argued for 10 minutes and the three judges in the Supreme Court of Appeal agreed with me – and when they ruled in our favour on the same day of the arguments, I just smiled," he said.    

Mulaudzi was released from prison on May 6.  

- Read more: Limpopo man acquitted after 10 years in jail

Mpshe said he took up the case in 2015 after his junior advocate Agnes Ramanyini approached him about it.      

"I knew for a fact that he [Mulaudzi] was going to get out of prison. I read the report and I knew that it was something I wanted to do and I strongly believed in the case."

Mpshe also said he would now help Mulaudzi sue the State for his wrongful arrest.  

"[His] cousin said he had intentions of suing the State and I am going to help them do it."

Mpshe also added that while studying Mulaudzi’s report, he noticed that the 4th accused in the matter was also not involved in the murder.  

"It is worse for the fourth accused because he didn't even know the people who were involved in the murder, so I am now considering representing him pro bono."

Life in prison

Mulaudzi was convicted in the Limpopo High Court on August 22, 2006, when his co-accused, Tshimangadzo Leroy Mushewu, said he was an accomplice in the killing of principal, taxi owner and ANC leader Shavhani Ramusetheli.

The high court judge denied his application for leave to appeal, so he had to go straight to the SCA, a much longer route. 

Mulaudzi and three other people, who were not part of his appeal, were charged with murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and attempted murder at the time.

He was sentenced to life in prison for murder and 10 years for robbery.

- Read more: I even blamed God - Limpopo man who spent 10 years in jail for murder

But the SCA found that Mushewu, who testified against Mulaudzi, was a poor witness who went to "great lengths not only to minimise his role at the expense of the appellant, but also to exonerate himself".

It further said that the first accused was the only witness who gave incriminating evidence against Mulaudzi at the trial.

"In my view, there is nothing inherently improbable about the appellant's version to warrant its rejection as false beyond reasonable doubt.

"In the result, I am satisfied that the evidence of the first accused was, in its entirety, unworthy of credence for the reasons stated above and thus should not have been relied upon to convict the appellant. The State, therefore, failed to discharge the onus resting on it and the appellant should have been acquitted," the SCA said.

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  judiciary

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