Suspect wasn't trigger happy'
MBABANE – Suspected killer teacher Zwelithini Tsabedze was not trigger happy, lawyer Mduduzi Mabila has said, therefore he should be acquitted and discharged.
This, Mabila said, when making closing arguments in the trial where Tsabedze is alleged to have killed his friend and colleague Ntokozo Maseko. He was responding to Crown Counsel Macebo Nxumalo’s arguments that Tsabedze intentionally shot the deceased, judging by the fact that it was at close range. Nxumalo had said there was no possibility that he could not have recognised that it was his friend he was with a few moments earlier.
Mabila said the mistaken close range shot showed that Tsabedze was not negligent, but acted reasonably.
Tsabedze had told the court that he was attacked by a person he could not identify on the night when he was with his girlfriend Phatsisiwe Ngcamphalala. He said the person attacked them and during a scuffle his readily cocked gun accidentally went off killing the attacker who turned out to be his friend.
"He acted when danger was imminent, otherwise he would have shot at other people if he shot while the attacker was at a distance away," Mabila said.
He also submitted that the Crown had not submitted evidence from an eye witness, irrespective of the fact that Tsabedze did shoot at ‘someone’ during the day. He argued that the eye witness, Ngcamphalala could not be described as an incompetent witness for the Crown to reject her. He said, she was merely a girlfriend to Tsabedze not a wife.
He argued that she was a competent witness.
He said the law stipulated that the court should consider that accused’s version of what had happened if it was probable and it was. He argued that the court did not need to believe Tsabedze’s evidence, but if probable, then he should be acquitted of the offence.
He said, "He said he was under imminent attack and in the company of his girlfriend. The version that they saw a person is true. The Crown has not controverted his evidence."
Nxumalo on the other hand, argued that the Crown had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Tsabedze had killed his friend intentionally and unlawfully and it was not self-defence. He said there was sufficient light on the scene for Tsabedze to recognise that it was his friend. He also argued that Tsabedze had told lies, that the deceased had been shot by three men, and kept such for three days.
"The accused’s story is false. There was no reason the deceased could be driven to attack the accused and Tsabedze has not pointed out any. He had seen the accused earlier and he never told the court that the deceased had taken off his jacket. He said when he returned to the scene with a light, he noticed him by the jacket," Nxumalo said.
Nxumalo also said Ngcamphalala’s version was inconsistent. He also argued that it was inconsistent with a natural reaction that a person attacked by an unknown, could return by himself to the same scene immediately. "May the court come to the conclusion that the accused version is false," Nxumalo said.
Judgment was reserved until July 13, 2012.
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