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Axe handle killer sentenced to 30 years

2024-05-22  Roland Routh

Axe handle killer sentenced to 30 years

Windhoek High Court Judge Philanda Christiaan sentenced David Mwahondamange Johannes to 30 years imprisonment on Friday.

She convicted Johannes earlier this year of murder with direct intent in accordance with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act for bludgeoning his girlfriend and mother of his child to death with an axe handle.

The accused pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial and claimed he accidentally killed Hilya Namutenya Shiku while defending himself against an assault by her.

Delivering her judgement, the judge said domestic violence in Namibia has become so common that it hardly causes anyone to raise an eyebrow.

As such, in this matter, she took into consideration the nature and prevalence of the crime and balanced it with the accused’s actions.

She said Johannes did not show any remorse or even attempt to ask for forgiveness.

The crimes that the accused stands convicted of are extremely serious, and even more so because they were committed in a domestic context, Judge Christiaan stated.

“Jealousy and distrust, as in so many domestic relationships, were the causes of these crimes. The deceased was hit with a pick handle numerous times, and her wounds are indicative of how serious the attack was on her head. She was left to die without any attempt from the accused to assist or get help. The deceased was murdered by the person who was supposed to protect her from harm,” Christiaan remarked.

She said the present instance is just another example of the extent of abuse and crimes committed daily in our society, where the weak and vulnerable often pay with their lives for no reason at all.

“Differences between persons in virtually any relationship, moreover, when of a romantic nature, are likely to arise,” the judge stated and continued: “Persons, each being unique human beings, are often confronted with difficult situations that require emotional decision-making; it is simply part of life. That obviously includes breakups in relationships – and irrespective of how difficult and painful the process may be for affected parties, they are bound to abide by the fundamental rights enshrined in our Constitution, including the moral values endorsed and upheld by society,” the judge said.

She then emphasised it is in the interest of justice that these rights and mutual respect be protected and upheld at all costs.

There is a cry from society for the imposition of stiffer sentences against perpetrators, such as the accused, who mercilessly turned on his girlfriend to air his frustration with her, killing her in the process, Christiaan justified.

This heinous behaviour, the judge said, will not be tolerated by the courts, and punishment will be meted out by imposing the appropriate sentences.

In this matter, the judge stated that the objectives of punishment will be deterrence and retribution as opposed to rehabilitation.

“Though the courts in sentencing should not give in to the expectations of society at the expense of the accused or the interests of justice, they should not ignore society’s indignation against those that make themselves guilty of such heinous crimes,” the judge said.

-rrouth@nepc.com.na


2024-05-22  Roland Routh

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