- A South African man spent 12 years in jail, doing time for a crime he did not commit
- Samuel Nndwambi was charged with murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2006
- However, a couple of months ago the Supreme Court of Appeal found him innocent and demanded his immediate release
A man, Samuel Nndwambi, was wrongfully convicted of a murder in 2006, and he was sentenced to life in jail.
However, he was innocent and ended up spending 12 years in jail for a crime he did not commit before the Supreme Court of Appeal acquitted him of all charges.
Nndwambi, who was a carpenter by trade, was busy doing a job for a client 12-years-ago when police showed up to arrest him.
The then 39-year-old had no idea what was going on and cops simply told him they'll explain the situation once they arrived at the station.
But, it was only the beginning of his nightmare and a few months later, after a short trial, the father of three was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life behind bars at the Kutama Sinthumule maximum security prison.
Nndwambi recalled prison was hard, especially since he knew he did not commit the crime. He added everyday behind bars was a struggle for him, and he knew he was not supposed to be there.
“You get up in the morning and you know you did nothing. And you’re amongst people who have actually committed violent crimes. You are lost. You don’t know what you are doing there‚ but there’s nowhere to go,” TimesLIVE quoted Nndwambi.
However, his big break came on 14 June 2018, when the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ordered his immediate release on grounds of insufficient evidence to keep him in jail.
According to the SCA ruling, the acting judge at the time, Ephraim Makgoba, did not have enough evidence to send Nndwambi to jail, let alone give him life behind bars.
Briefly.co.za learned there were four accused men, and the evidence pointed at accused no one, Leroy Mushweu, whose DNA evidence was found at the scene of the crime.
However, in an attempt to get himself off the hook, Mushweu implicated Nndwambi and another man, taxi driver Marcus Mulaudzi, in the crime.
According to Mushweu, who is still serving a life sentence in prison, Nndwambi forced him to commit the crime and Mulaudzi drive them to and from the crime.
Mulaudzi also received a life sentence, whereof he only served 10 years before the SCA found him innocent as well.
Other than Mushweu's testimony, there was no other evidence which linked the two men to the crime, they did not even know one another, other than a brief meeting once.
For Nndwambi the verdict of the SCA is bittersweet- he no longer has to live the rest of his life behind bars, but he wasted 12 precious years in prison, where he missed out on his kids' lives.
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