A man who was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment in 2019 for stabbing his girlfriend and mother of his now 11-year-old daughter to death was provided with a lawyer by Legal Aid to appeal his sentence.
The convict stabbed the girlfriend 27 times with several knives in front of her then four-year-old son.
Johny Ryno Diergaardt (38) has been struggling since shortly after his sentence to acquire legal aid to appeal his sentence and has now been provided with the services of former acting judge and magistrate turned defence attorney, Ileni Velikoshi.
Diergaardt was convicted of murdering 22-year-old Tiffany Tanita Lewin by viciously stabbing her on 3 March 2014 at the room he rented at Erf 427, Garnet Street in Khomasdal.
He now wants the judge that sentenced him, Nate Ndauendapo, to allow him to appeal the sentence in the Supreme Court.
The judge sentenced Diergaardt to 35 years, but suspended five years on condition that he is not convicted of murder during the period of suspension.
In his testimony, Diergaardt described his actions as a moment of weakness.
He was represented by Boris Isaacks during his trial.
In his sentencing judgement, the judge said that the deceased was a defenceless and innocent human being who died at the hands of her boyfriend.
“She was butchered in the cruellest manner imaginable,” he added.
The judge went on to say the son of the deceased tried to defend her by asking the accused not to stab his mother and even stabbed the accused in the leg, in defence of his mother, but to no avail.
“The accused just continued stabbing the deceased as if she was an animal, one of the knives was found stuck in her head,” the judge remarked.
He said the pain she must have endured must have been profound.
According to judge Ndauendapo, Diergaardt’s action toward another human being was simply beyond belief and the sentence must reflect the true nature and seriousness of the crime.
“Every person’s right to life is entrenched in our constitution and the accused violently took that away from her,” the judge said and continued: The deceased was just 22 years old, barely started her adult life and she left two minor children who must now grow up without the love and care of a mother and father because of the actions of the accused.
He said courts must send out a strong message that gender based violence is totally unacceptable and that those who make themselves guilty of it will be sentenced to very long prison terms.
However, the judge said, he observed the accused very closely when he testified and could clearly see that he was genuinely remorseful for what he did.
Ndauendapo further found that the murder was not pre-meditated and that Diergaardt acted out of character as testified to by various State witnesses.
Diergaardt stood impassively during the reading of the sentence and quickly made his way to the holding cells after the sentence was announced while some of his family members started crying uncontrollably and were unceremoniously escorted out by the court orderlies.
The State was represented by advocate Seredine Jacobs during the trial.
The matter was set down for 20 September for the hearing.