Life-time for men guilty of murdering Chinese couple

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BY JENNIFER KUSAPA

THE two men accused of killing a Chinese couple at their Town Ground premises last year, have been found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday by the Court.

Jimson Erega Goufi and Raymond Keota had denied involvment in the incident and a trial was conducted in which statements tendered in court and footages of the camera with witnesses identifying the accused were called in court to testify.

Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer said in court yesterday that he is satisfied that prosecution have proven beyond reasonable doubt that the two defendant were the persons involved in the most cruel and inhumane killing of the two innocent Chinese couple going about their daily business at the LGZ shop.

Sir Albert said that the two accused were jointly charged for the killing of the two couple Lao Gongzhen and Wu Yuegui on the evening of April 15, 2017.

The two men attacked and killed the couple within the confines of the building from which they ran their business.

At the time of the killing when the bodies were discovered on April 17 there was a public outcry and rumours were ripe as to the motive for the killing.

All these however, have been put to rest by a series of surveillance cameras which capture vividly the gruesome and cruel killing that took place within that short window of time of about 10 minutes.

“I accept that there is no dispute that what has been captured by the security cameras at the LGZ shop showed a gruesome and merciless killing of two unsuspecting and innocent victims in the hands of the two persons seen in the footages of security camera,” Sir Albert said.

It is also not in dispute that the murder weapons used were bush knife and what appeared to be a kitchen knife which was used to kill the other victim.

Sir Albert said in relation Mr Erega, known as D1, when all evidence are collated and put together the video footages, the circumstances surrounding the offence at that time, the important identification evidence by the prosecution witness and the defendant’s own confessional statement to police.

“I am satisfied that one of the killers identified in the video footages and prints was none other than D1. It could not be anyone else for he never left the scene of the crime after signing off the logbook, instead he turned around, jumped over the counter and assisted the second killer to attack and then took over from him to kill Victim 1 with the knife.

“I am satisfied Prosecution have discharged the onus of proof beyond reasonable doubt as to his identity in this murder that occurred at the LGZ shop premises,” Sir Albert said.

In relation to Mr Keota, known as D2, the evidence that been adduced in this case is not the second or third form but that of positive-identification evidence, the first form of identification in which the second attack had been clearly and distinctly identified by a relative of D2 who is also a police officer of some 15 years in the police force.

Sir Albert said that by viewing the footages and from the identification made by the relative, the court is satisfied that the identification of D2 was also contradicted, and prosecution have discharged the onus of proof beyond reasonable doubt.

The issue of cause of death and proof of death have never been in issue for the evidence contained in the video footages showed a gruesome killing.

“Once identification had been secured, I am satisfied so that I am sure, prosecution had discharged the onus placed on it to prove that D2 was the one who attacked and killed Victim 2,” Sir Albert said.

Sir Albert after giving his judgment convicted the men and sentenced them to life imprisonment.

In relation to submission on the minimum sentence the submission will be made on October 26.

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