Mukata seeks to challenge death sentence in Supreme Court

Keith Akekelwa Mukata: File picture

Former Chilanga UPND member of parliament Keith Mukata who was sentenced to death by the Lusaka High Court for murdering his security guard, has applied for leave to appeal against his conviction in the Supreme Court.

According to a notice of application for leave to appeal filed in the Court of Appeal Holden at Lusaka Criminal Jurisdiction, Mukata wants to appeal the judgement of the Court of Appeal on four grounds.

“I do hereby apply for leave to the Supreme Court against the said judgement of the Court of Appeal on grounds set forth;(i) The Court of Appeal erred in law and facts by dismissing all the grounds of appeal presented before them except one, and by not upholding the Appeal, against the overwhelming evidence on the record. (ii) The Court of Appeal erred in law and fact, by maintaining the finding of the trial judge that the deceased was shot from inside the premises when the basis upon which the trial judge made that finding was in fact dismissed on appeal,” read the notice.

“(iii)The Court of Appeal erred at law and fact by them making conclusions and findings of fact on appeal, unsupported by the evidence on the record. (iv) The Court of Appeal erred in law and fact when it varied the evidence of PW6 regarding the 9mm cartridge he picked from the crime scene.”

And in an affidavit in support of notice of application for leave to appeal, Mukata, who is serving a murder sentence at Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility in Kabwe, explained that his lawyers had advised him to make the said application for leave because leave to appeal to the Supreme Court was not granted at the time of judgement.

He added that he had good prospects of succeeding because he believed the Court of Appeal erred in law and fact in dismissing his appeal.

Mukata further stated that it was in the interest of justice that he be allowed to exercise his right of appeal as provided for in the Constitution, adding that if the application was not granted, he shall be greatly prejudiced.

“I further believe that having been condemned to death, and this being a capital offence which deprives me of a right naturally inherent and constitutional guaranteed, being every person’s fundamental right to life, it is in public interest that I be allowed to exercise my right to be heard up to the highest court of the land before my life is taken away,” read the affidavit.

High Court Judge Susan Wanjelani sentenced Mukata to death by hanging on February 28, 2018, for the murder of his security guard but acquitted his co-accused Charmaine Musonda on all counts.

In her judgement, justice Wanjelani said she was convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Mukata’s guard died from gun shots which were discharged by him.

Mukata then appealed against the High Court’s decision in the Court of appeal on grounds that justice Wanjelani misdirected herself when she convicted him of murder based on circumstantial evidence.

He had asked the Court of appeal to acquit him of murder as there was no evidence linking him to the death of his security guard.

But in May this year, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal with only one ground standing out of 16 and upheld Mukata’s death penalty.

It found that the trial judge was on firm grounds when she convicted and sentenced him for murder.

In a judgement delivered in Kabwe, Court of Appeal judge Chalwe Mchenga found that Mukata had intent to murder his security guard because he concealed the gun in his motor vehicle, in a basket that contained plates and hid the car keys in a flower bed.

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