Burglar jailed for two years

Home Crime and Courts Burglar jailed for two years

WINDHOEK – A Tanzanian national who pleaded guilty to a charge of housebreaking with intent to steal and theft was sent to jail for two years.

“It is aggravating that the accused entered and broke into the room of the complainant and stole the property belonging to the complainant. The place where a person stays is regarded to be the most sacred of places where the person occupying it is supposed to feel safe and secure” Windhoek Magistrate Ingrid Unengu said before sentencing 47-year-old Nyakiban Joseph. 

His co-accused, Joshia Singiombonde Kibale, 41, also pleaded guilty, but after the magistrate questioned him she found he did not admit to all elements of the crime and accordingly entered a not guilty plea.

According to the charge sheet the two Tanzanians allegedly broke into the room of Pergrina Rengura at Reo Guesthouse on May 6 and stole two laptops valued at N$18 000, a Samsung Note cellphone worth N$7 000 and N$320 in cash. They were arrested on May 08. 

After the not guilty plea was entered for Kibale the trial of the two accused was separated and Joseph submitted in mitigation that he was compelled by circumstances to commit the crime. He said  he has two kids back in Tanzania and they were dismissed from school as he could not pay their school fees. He said he took the items to sell in order to pay the school fees of his children. 

In aggravation of sentence state prosecutor Kandiwapa Nangombe told the court that housebreakers are unscrupulous criminals. 

She said  although the court must show some degree of mercy, it also has a duty to protect members of society from criminals. Nangombe told the magistrate that it was time the courts cooperate with law enforcement to root out such offences by imposing harsh sentences on burglars.

 She said Joseph being a foreigner showed a total lack of respect for Namibian laws. “The State prays that the court will take a stand and send out a strong message to would-be offenders that they will be severely punished,” she concluded her submission. 

Magistrate Unengu told Joseph that his personal circumstances were far outweighed by the seriousness and prevalence of the offence he was convicted of. 

She said that society had a legitimate expectation that the courts should protect it from perpetrators such as the accused who had no regard for the right to privacy and to own property. 

She said offenders such as Joseph must feel the full wrath of the law, not only to deter them but would-be offenders as well. 

She said although the accused was a first offender that pleaded guilty and did not waste the court’s time, a custodial sentence without the option of a fine was the best form of punishment.  She thus sent him to jail for two years.

By Roland Routh