WINDHOEK - Defence lawyer Milton Engelbrecht, representing an elderly man from Karasburg who allegedly had his murder victim washed and clothed and put her in bed after beating her, yesterday asked Judge Nate Ndauendapo to convict his client of culpable homicide instead of murder.
According to Engelbrecht, the State failed to show that August van Wyk, 51, had the required intention to kill the deceased nor did he foresee that the beating he subjected her to could kill her.
Van Wyk is appearing in the Windhoek High Court on charges of murder, defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH) and assault common.
He pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, the defeating of justice charge and the common assault charge. He however admitted that he assaulted live-in partner, Katrina Waterboer on February 1, 2014.
The deceased died as a result of multiple injuries, subdural bleeding and a brain concussion.
According to the State, Van Wyk killed Waterboer during the period 29 to 30 August 2014 at Westerkim settlement in Karasburg where-after he instructed one of the State witnesses to remove the clothes the deceased was wearing and dress her in different clothes as well as removed his own clothes and dress in different clothes as well as hide his clothes and the clothes of the deceased which had blood on it by wrapping it under a mattress.
According to Engelbrecht, even if the court found that Van Wyk was responsible for the death of Waterboer, it was because of negligence and not intention. He said that the court must be careful in its approach and the weight to be accorded to the circumstances that lead to the death of the deceased. “In the present instance the accused is the only person in a position to explain the circumstances that led to the death of the deceased and we respectfully submit that the version of the accused be upheld. His explanation is consistent with the medical evidence that the cause of death was bleeding in the brain,” Engelbrecht told Judge Ndauendapo.
State Advocate Cliff Lutibezi who represents the prosecution argued that Van Wyk should have foreseen the possibility that the deceased can die when assaulted on fragile parts of the body such as the head. According to him, Van Wyk conceded in his evidence that the possibility exists. Therefore, Lutibezi argued, the court must find him guilty of murder with intent even if he did not have the direct intent to kill the deceased when he assaulted her. With regards to the count of defeating the course of justice, Engelbrecht asked the court to convict Van Wyk on attempt to obstruct the course of justice should the court find he was responsible for cleaning the deceased and dress her in fresh clothes. Lutibezi on the other hand argued that Van Wyk is guilty of obstructing the course of justice.
Judge Ndauendapo said he will deliver his judgment on November 30 this year at 09H00.