Murder convict withdraws appeal

Friday Leburu
Friday Leburu

After being tried and convicted for stabbing his girlfriend 30 times to death, murder convict Lebopo Kelebeng has withdrawn his application for leave to appeal before Court of Appeal (CoA).

Kelebeng was convicted and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment in 2011 for a single count of murder committed in May 2010. He was alleged to have stabbed his defenceless girlfriend, Ketshepaone Mokgaola 30 times  after their relationship went sour.

CoA Judge, Justice Isaac Lesetedi yesterday concurred with Kelebeng to withdraw his application saying it was the best decision considering the circumstances of the case and the sentence given to him.

He told the applicant to consider himself lucky to have been advised by his attorney to withdraw the matter, saying the trial court had been lenient on him.

“Consider yourself lucky that you are withdrawing the matter, otherwise it was going to be a new ball game because many people that have committed the same offence as you, have been given more years than what you got.

“I would say the trial judge was lenient looking at the circumstances surrounding the murder,” he said.

Earlier on, Kelebeng through his attorney Friday Leburu, had told court that he had weighed his odds regarding the appeal so he decided to withdraw the matter.

Leburu said he had extensively reviewed the judgment of the trial court, hence he accordingly advised his client to withdraw the application.

“My client has agreed to withdraw the application after much consideration, I did explain to him that it would be better if he drops the appeal completely,” he said.

Kelebeng who has already served three years and six months behind bars had filed an application seeking leave to appeal his sentence out of time.

He had filed his notice of appeal on April 2, 2015 supplemented with an application for condonation.

The state, represented by Neo Molelekwa, had intended to appeal the application on reasons that the applicant had no business appearing before the court for leave to appeal, as his case had no strong prospects of success.

In their replying affidavits, the state said the applicant had also failed to file his application for leave to appeal on time or later than the time limits set by the court.

“The applicant had failed to show that there were any existing exceptional circumstances justifying his delay and he had also failed to show that he has very strong prospects of success on appeal,” she said.

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