Death row inmate’s attorney throws everything at Judge

Nicholas Mokwena
Tuesday, 16 January 2018
Death row inmate’s attorney throws everything at Judge

Death row inmate Uyapo Poloko will next month know his fate when the appeals court hands down its judgement on his, attempted murder and robbery appeal application.

Poloko was in 2015 convicted of a single count of murder without extenuating circumstances, attempted murder and robbery. The High court slapped him with a death sentence for murder, 12 years imprisonment for attempted murder and 10 years for robbery. 

He had on January 25, 2010 at Ntshe in Francistown, murdered Vijeyadeyi Kandavanam, attempted to kill Balasingnam Kandavanam and stole cellphones worth P3 500. He is appealing both the convictions and sentences and wants them set aside.

Poloko’s attorney Tshekiso Thekiso told court this week that his client’s right to a fair trial by an impartial court had been violated. He said the trial court failed to exercise its discretion for it to administer justice and arrive at a just and fair decision by subpoening witnesses who were not called by the state and the then defense attorney whose evidence was crucial to the case.

He revealed that even the identification of the appellant as having been the one who committed the offence is questionable. “There is contradiction as to the event that occurred at that time. One of the prosecution witnesses said he saw the victim (Balsingnam Kandavanam) opening the gate for a man at around 0930hours. 

“On the other hand, the victim said the appellant (Poloko) came to their house at around 0600hours and the appellant tightened the rope around his neck at around 0800hrs. There is also evidence according to the court record that my client and others visited the victim’s house twice but the victim said it was three times. This could mean that the third visit was by a totally different group of people,” argued Poloko’s lawyer.

Thekiso stressed that though he has no doubt as to the integrity of the trial judge and his ability as a judge, “this appears to me to be a case in which the judge made an innocent error in judgment. 

The error of judgment does however create an impression that he had prejudged the matter that (was) served before him. It does create a reasonable likelihood of bias.”

The prosecution has called on the court to uphold the decision of the High Court and set aside the appeal.

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