Murderer seeks to appeal conviction after 16 years

2015-08-13 09:47


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Pietermaritzburg - A man serving a life sentence for a hijacking and murder committed at St Faiths in KwaZulu-Natal, only filed an application for leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg after nearly 16 years.

When the case came before Judge Anton van Zyl this week, however, he refused to condone the late filing of the application for leave to appeal by Simphiwe Mseleku of Savana Park, Mariannhill.

The judge found that, in any case, there was no likelihood of Mseleku’s appeal succeeding even if he were given leave to appeal.

Mseleku stood trial together with Nkosinathi Mkhize, 26, of Stanger, charged with the aggravated robbery and murder of Helen Mthembu, as well as the attempted murder of Mnyamezeli Elias Mthembu on June 21,1998, in the St Faiths area.

Helen Mthembu, with several passengers, was travelling along the St Faiths main road en route to a funeral at Umzumbe when they were ambushed. Mseleku waved down the bakkie and when it stopped he and his companion approached, demanding the keys. Mkhize shot Helen Mthembu in the head as she was alighting.

Her body was dragged out of the vehicle and Mseleku got into the driver’s seat and drove off with the bakkie, leaving Mkhize behind.

However, he could not control the vehicle and crashed it nearby.

Van Zyl said the defence had submitted that Mseleku was mistakenly identified as one of the assailants, but said he was satisfied that this wasn’t the case.

The judge said he wasn’t aware of any other case where there had been such a long delay in a convicted person bringing an application for leave to appeal. He was only aware of one other case where a person took 11 years to apply for leave to appeal.

The reasons given by Mseleku for the late filing of the application was that he was represented at his trial by a lawyer from the Legal Aid Board, but that he and his family decided they should obtain a private attorney to pursue his appeal. However, lack of money prevented them from doing so until the present.

Mseleku was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, 15 years’ imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances and four years’ imprisonment for attempted murder by Judge Vivienne Niles-Duner on August 4, 1999.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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