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‘Facebook’ murderer fails to overturn death sentence

LEBOGANG MOSIKARE OTHUSITSE KHUWA
FB User PIC: KAGISO ONKATSWITSE
FRANCISTOWN: A convicted murderer who grabbed headlines a few years ago after taking to Facebook to plead his case, yesterday had his application for a discharge of the case rejected in the High Court.

Uyapo Poloko (37) is on death row for killing an Asian woman. Poloko attempted to kill the woman’s husband in the process of also robbing the couple.

Poloko, formerly a graduate of Counselling from Tonota College of Education had made an application he referred to as “an application for redress that sought the Court to discharge his conviction and sentence” before Justice Bashi Moesi while awaiting his appeal at the Court of Appeal (CoA).

Justice Modiri Letsididi had previously convicted Poloko of killing Vijeyadeyi Kandavaranam on January 25, 2010 at Ntshe location in Francistown, during which incident he also attempted to kill Vijeyadeyi’s husband, Balasingnam. He also stole two Nokia cellphones and P3,500 when he committed the offences.

Letsididi sentenced Poloko to death for the murder, as well as 12 years in jail for the attempted murder charge and 10 years for the robbery. 

The two sentences will run concurrently until his execution, with the Judge noting the brutality of the crime, as the victim was strangled.

Passing judgement yesterday, Justice Moesi dismissed Poloko’s application, saying that once the Court handed down the conviction and sentence, its duty had been done and the Court lacked the competency to hear

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the matter.

Moesi said it was regrettable that while the accused’s appeal had been noted from a long time back, Poloko had not been furnished with the record of proceedings from the Court that pronounced his fate.

As such, Moesi ruled that the Master and Registrar of the High Court should make sure that Poloko is furnished with the record of proceedings so that he can make his appeal before the CoA.

Letsididi’s judgement at the time ended one of the most talked about murder cases here.

In one of Poloko’s Facebook posts before his bail was revoked at the Lobatse High Court, he wrote: “This is my last message. I thank everybody for being there for me.”

In another post, Poloko said: “Today I am facing the most difficult challenge of my life at Lobatse.”

Letsididi, in passing sentence, had noted that there were several aggravating factors in the case.

“The crimes were committed in a brutal and ruthless manner because he strangled the deceased. Strangulation by nature leads to a slow and painful death.

In all the circumstances, I am unable to find any extenuating circumstances in the conviction of the offences that could reduce the accused’s blameworthiness.”



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