Johannesburg - A North West man convicted of robbing and killing an off-duty policeman was denied leave to appeal by the Constitutional Court on Tuesday.
Thembekile Molaudzi and a number of co-accused were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder and 21 years for robbery and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
The North West High Court in Mahikeng sentenced them on July 22, 2004.
Molaudzi challenged his conviction before a full bench of the same court, but the appeal was dismissed.
The Supreme Court of Appeal refused a further application for leave to appeal. Molaudzi then approached the Constitutional Court on the basis that he had been wrongly convicted.
On Tuesday, the court denied him leave to appeal because the case did not raise a constitutional issue and there were no reasonable prospects of success.
“There is, however, one aspect that calls for comment and censure,” read the judgment handed down by Judge Thembile Skweyiya and eight other judges.
“The applicant was sentenced on 22 July 2004. The appeal was only heard by the full court on 7 December 2012. How did this come about?”
Molaudzi alleged he was told he had to obtain a copy of the trial record before his application for leave to appeal could be considered.
The trial judge only signed a copy of the record in October 2008. The record was incomplete and Molaudzi was told the trial judge was attempting to reconstruct the record from her notes.
“Only after intervention by the Mahikeng Justice Centre and Lawyers for Human Rights did the applicant receive the full trial record in 2012, some eight years after his conviction and sentence,” the judgment read.
“Judicial officers have a duty to ensure that egregious delays of this kind do not occur.”
The court did not comment on the reasons for the delay since the matter was reported to and investigated by the Judicial Service Commission. - Sapa