• May 19th, 2019
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Domestic violence appeal dismissed

WINDHOEK - Two judges of the northern division at Oshakati High Court dismissed an appeal against a sentence of 30 months’ imprisonment on a conviction of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm read with the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act. The appeal was heard on October 9 already and the judgment given, but the reasons were only released last week.

The appellant, Andreas Skilla Muyumba, was convicted on the charge after he admitted he stabbed his girlfriend in the ribs and on her arm with an iron bar. During mitigation Muyumba asked the court to impose a fine instead of direct imprisonment, considering his personal circumstances and that he was a first-time offender, but Oshakati High Court Judge Marlene Tommasi, who wrote the judgment in agreement with Oshakati High Court Acting Judge Maphios Cheda, found that the magistrate did take the personal circumstances into account and that it was outweighed by the nature of the offence and the interest of society.

She said the weapon used and the fact he struck the complainant twice on the ribs are indicative that he intended to seriously injure the complainant. 

“Domestic violence enjoys widespread media coverage and there is indeed a public outcry against crimes of this nature,” said Judge Tommasi before dismissing the appeal.

She also stated, “It is not the object of sentencing to pander to public opinion, but the court took into consideration that the bodily integrity of vulnerable members of society within domestic relationships is a legitimate interest of society. Our courts would fail in their duty if this interest is not protected. The court has in several cases expressed its abhorrence of the increase in domestic violence. Persons in domestic relationships who resort to violence to resolve conflicts must know that the courts are united in their approach against this evil. The need for general and personal deterrence must be given serious consideration by all our courts.”

Judge Tommasi further said they were not persuaded that the magistrate erred when she imposed a custodial sentence in the circumstances of this case and in their view the sentence imposed is not shockingly inappropriate to call for interference.

Roland Routh
2018-11-12 08:52:42 6 months ago

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