Accused guilty of escaping from custody

Home Crime and Courts Accused guilty of escaping from custody

By Tunomukwathi Asino

WINDHOEK – A 28-year-old man, Roberto Coleman, was served with an additional 12 months in prison without an option of a fine for escaping from custody last year November.

Coleman, who was in custody on a theft charge, pleaded guilty to escaping from custody in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The state alleged that he escaped from the Windhoek Police Station on November 10, 2013. He was arrested seven days later.

While delivering the judgment, Magistrate Jermaine Muchali said “the crime is clearly serious. If you, the accused person, while under lawful detention can manage to escape from custody, then it’s an indication that you cannot simply be kept in custody with strict monitoring and supervision but you need to be kept in a high security area”.

“To make your situation more serious, is the fact that you broke the trust between you and the police, when they allowed you to work outside without monitoring you,” the magistrate added.

The magistrate added that he appreciated that the accused pleaded guilty. In a plea agreement read in court by his lawyer Meriam Kenaruzo, the accused said he pleaded guilty as a sign of remorse.

The statement further said that Coleman was not married but has a girlfriend and son aged five years staying with his girlfriend. 

Coleman has been in custody since September 2013. “Accused was arrested while returning to the police station, accused’s child had a problem. We ask for a sentence with an option of a fine, if it’s direct imprisonment, we ask for a sentence of three months and half of the sentence to be suspended,” Kenaruzo said.

Prosecutor Verinao Kamahene informed the court that the offence was very serious, because the accused was in custody on another matter. “I perceive the offence as an attempt to diminish the interest of justice, the accused planned the offence, knowing that he was under lawful custody but he pursued the offence”.

“The accuse has no observation for the rules of this country, more so because he was in custody on another matter but that was not a concern to him,” the prosecutor added.  He recommended a fine of N$1000 or in default of payment six months in prison.