No reprieve for hospital killer

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No reprieve for hospital killer

A man who was convicted of killing his girlfriend in cold blood while she was recovering in hospital was denied an opportunity to appeal his 44-year sentence.

Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg sentenced Hendrik Nowoseb (40) to 40 years on a conviction of murder and eight years on a conviction of attempted murder. Four years of the attempted murder sentence was ordered to be served concurrently with the murder sentence.  Nowoseb first stabbed his former girlfriend, Willemina Tsuses in the chest on 6 December 2014 and while she was recuperating in hospital in Outjo, he went there and finished her off.

He is now asking for leave to appeal the 44-year sentence after six years, claiming that the sentence is shockingly inappropriate. He also claim that it is not in line with the Gaingob sentence that decreed sentences exceeding 37 and a half years are unconstitutional. Judge Liebenberg however had a different view. According to him, in the Supreme Court’s reasoning, fixed sentences exceeding 37 and half years are harsher than life imprisonment where a prisoner becomes eligible for parole after serving 25 years. However, the judge said, when employing the subject of parole as the criteria in deciding whether a determined sentence in excess of 37 and a half years is harsher than a sentence of life imprisonment, regard must be had to the extent of the sentence after the release of such prisoner as they would still serve the remainder of the life sentence albeit outside the prison. He said that such prisoners are still subject to the conditions of their release and under the supervision of the correctional services authorities. In contrast, he said, a prisoner sentenced to a fixed term is released after serving his time without any such conditions. They are not subjected to further punishment for new offences on the sentence already served. On the contrary, the judge said, an offender sentenced to life imprisonment stands the risk to restart the 25-year cycle upon the commission of further offences. That, he said, is the difference between fixed term sentences and life imprisonment and why it is called life imprisonment. Judge Liebenberg said, that in his considered view, a sentence of 40 years imprisonment would not be harsher than life imprisonment. “In the present instance, the applicant becomes eligible for release after serving two thirds of the total sentence of 44 years i.e., 29 years and four months,” the judge said and continued: Once he has served the term of imprisonment until it’s expiration, he is not at risk of being hauled back to prison as would be the case when life imprisonment is imposed. “I am therefore unable to see how a sentence of 44 years imposed on the applicant would be harsher than life imprisonment,” the judge reiterated. He however said that sentences of 64 to 67 years imprisonment as envisaged in Gaingob is distinguishable. He further said the sentences meted out in the case have been considered and applied to the facts of the case and he is not persuaded that Nowoseb’s reliance on Gaingob establishes any prospects of success on appeal. As a result, he refused condonation for the late filing of the appeal and struck the matter from the roll.

Nowoseb is still facing another trial with Lourens Aib (30) in which it is alleged that he robbed and murdered Gerhardus Petrus Koekemoer by stabbing him with a knife. 

The State also alleges they tried to murder Koekemoer’s fiancée, Zenobia Bezuidenhout, on the evening of 25 October 2014 during a robbery at a small shop that Bezuidenhout was running from Koekemoer’s house. 

Aib and Nowoseb are further accused of stealing N$251 in cash, and N$10 and N$5 tango recharge vouchers worth N$465 together with cigarettes, sweets, a bunch of keys and a pocketknife.

The two are being tried on a count of murder, attempted murder, rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances before Windhoek High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo. This matter is continuing.