Court of Appeal reserves Mukata appeal judgment
THE Court of Appeal yesterday reserved judgment in a matter in which murder convict Keith Mukata is challenging his death sentence. Mukata is facing a death sentence for murdering Namakabwa Kalilakwenda, a security guard who was on duty at AKM legal practitioners, the law firm belonging to Mukata on May 6 last year. Mukata who is former UPND Chilanga Member of Parliament is being represented by five lawyers who include Mutemwa Mutemwa, Kasumpa Kabalata, Milner Katolo, Keith Mweemba and Willis Muhanga. In his final submissions, Mukata through his defense lawyers prayed that the court would uphold the appeal and set aside the conviction and sentence. The lawyers submitted before a panel of three judges of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Chalwe Mchenga. They argued that their client was prejudiced when the trial judge, Susan Wanjelani discredited the evidence of intruders at the crime scene. The lawyers submitted that the fact that there were other cartridge of a different size on the 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 claimed. They argued that the police neglected their duty to investigate each and every aspect of the crime and fact that they did not investigate the matter of empty cartridges prejudiced their client. The lawyers argued that the trial judge have handled the issue of hiding and the presence of intruders separately as there was no connection between the two. They urged the court to find that there were intruders at the scene and those people might have been the one Mukata said he saw struggling with Mr Kalilakwenda at the gate. “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 occurred. 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 Mukata says he saw by the gat struggling g with the deceased? And evidence which was not rebutted. These and many questions raise doubt as to who shot Mr Kalilakwenda and such doubts should have been resolved in favor of Mukata,” they said. They further submitted that drawing an inference of guilt was inappropriate in the circumstance.