The Western Cape High Court in South Africa has found renowned artist Zwelethu Mthethwa guilty of murder of 23-year-old sex worker Nokuphila Kumalo.
Judge Patricia Goliath based her judgment on a CCTV footage which captured the kicking and beating of Kumalo in the early hours of April 14 2013 in Ravenscraig Road, Woodstock.
Describing it as a “silent witness”, the Judge said CCTV footage had become crucial in the collection of evidence and the finding of truth in criminal cases.
She said the case had been based largely on circumstantial evidence that she had weighed up holistically.
Tracker evidence also found that the Porsche 911 Carerra, belonging to Mthethwa, was parked in Ravenscraig Road during the six-minute attack.
Justice Goliath said the defence’s attack on the authenticity of the footage could not be accepted adding that the clip “is real evidence.”
She also rejected evidence from defence witness, Toviah Zabow, in which he told the court that the accused person could not recall the events of that night.
The judge maintained that Mthethwa’s election not to testify rendered the psychiatrist’s evidence of no value.
Forensic pathologist, Linda Liebenberg, testified during the trial that Kumalo died of blunt-force trauma and had a severe laceration of the liver which led to fatal internal blood loss.
A petite woman, weighing only 46 kg, the Judge said that Kumalo would not have been able to defend herself.
Members of the Sex Workers Advocacy Task Force, SWEAT, who had been protesting outside the court earlier on Thursday, embraced each other whenthe verdict was delivered.
“We are elated with the verdict and believe its fair. We have been monitoring the case and the outcome is very meaningful to us,” said Sally Shackleton, spokesperson of SWEAT.
“We hope this will set a precedent for other cases. We eagerly await sentencing,” she added.