The Court of Appeal has reserved judgment in a matter where former Chilanga UPND member of parliament Keith Mukata has asked the court to acquit him of murder.
Mukata was in February this year sentenced to death by hanging by judge Susan Wanjelani for the murder of his security guard but his co-accused and lover Charmaine Musonda was acquitted on all counts.
However, when the matter came up, Friday, before a panel of three Court of Appeal judges led by Justice Chalwe Mchenga, Mukata’s lawyers in their final submissions prayed that the court would uphold the appeal and set aside the conviction and sentence.
They submitted that their client was prejudiced when the trial judge, Wanjelani, discredited the evidence of intruders at the crime scene.
The lawyers further argued that the fact that there were other cartridges of a different size at the crime scene, was an inference that there was another shooter or presence of another firearm.
“We contend that the judge erred in rejecting the evidence of intruders yet it was brought by a prosecution witness. From the onset, we submit that the witness’s testimony clearly showed and brought into play the presence of other people on the premises,” they submitted.
The lawyers then urged the court to find that there were intruders at the crime scene.
“We urge the court to take judicial notice of the fact that this was past mid night in the thick of the night when the crime occured. Where and how did those people find themselves and run away from a crime scene at such an awkward time? Who were these people and what were their intentions? Could these be the people the appellant says he saw by the gate struggling with the deceased? And evidence which was not rebutted. These and many questions raise doubt as to who shot the deceased and such doubts should have been resolved in favor of the appellant, ” they said.
Mukata’s lawyers further argued that the police had neglected their duty to investigate each and every aspect of a crime.
They added that the fact that the police failed to investigate the matter of empty cartridges, prejudiced their client.
They submitted that drawing an inference of guilt was inappropriate in the circumstance.
Meanwhile the court reserved ruling to a date to be communicated.