Lawyer says he can't visit convicted artist - Times LIVE
Wed May 24 23:38:29 SAST 2017

Lawyer says he can't visit convicted artist

Aphiwe Deklerk | 2017-04-21 06:23:03.0
Zwelethu Mthethwa outside the High Court in Cape Town. File photo.
Image by: ESA ALEXANDER

Artist Zwelethu Mthethwa's lawyer has criticised prison authorities for not granting him enough access to his client.

The Cape Town High Court found Mthethwa guilty last month of murdering sex worker Nokuphila Kumalo four years ago.

Lawyer William Booth was due yesterday to present evidence in mitigation of his client's sentence, but requested a postponement to May 24 because he had hired two experts to compile a report on Mthethwa's state of mind.

"We have engaged a social worker as well as a clinical psychologist to present evidence in mitigation of this matter.

"They have had difficulties gaining access to Mthethwa, who is at Pollsmoor prison," said Booth.

He said the two had only been able to see Mthethwa once and could not compile their report, which would be used in court to plead for a lesser sentence.

"It's something that we are taking up with the prison authorities.

"It's not the first time that it has happened," he said.

He said there were problems in gaining access to prisoners.

"Mthethwa has been convicted of murder on the basis of dolus eventualis, along the lines of what happened in the Oscar Pistorius matter, so there is a potential of a heavy sentence," added Booth.

He said Mthethwa was considering an appeal against his guilty verdict.

"We would have to consider as well applying for bail, pending an appeal, but that is something for the future.

"[He has] always been on bail and I strongly believe that he is not a flight risk and will comply with all bail hearings," said Booth.

He said things were tough for Mthethwa as conditions were poor in Pollsmoor. Booth said he would take the matter of overcrowding in jails to prison authorities.

Lesego Tlhwale from the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task Force said: "We are disappointed about the delay. We hope the judge doesn't allow any more postponements."

- Additional reporting by Farren Collins

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