A 41-year-old man, convicted for the brutal murder of a 56-year-old woman in Windhoek West during 2014 and sentenced to 28 years imprisonment, failed to show he has a reasonable prospect of success on appeal.
This was said by Windhoek High Court Judge Naomi Shivute when she dismissed Wilhelm Derick Februarie’s application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against his conviction.
Februarie was charged with murdering 56-year-old Dinah Diedericks on 21 June 2014 at her residence in Windhoek West after he raped her or exposed her private parts by removing her trousers and underwear.
He pleaded not guilty to both counts at the start of his trial.
During her judgment, Shivute said she was satisfied the only inference to be drawn from the available evidence was that it was Februarie who killed the victim, but that she could not, with a clear conscience, find that he either raped, attempted to rape the victim or that he was guilty of crimen injuria for exposing the woman’s private parts.
She said the evidence does not support a conviction of rape and attempted rape with the current legislation, neither does it state whether the woman was dead or alive when her pants were brought down.
“If the woman was alive, then a conviction of crimen injuria could be sustained but in the absence of evidence on this, it is difficult to make a finding one way or the other – and the accused is, thus, entitled to the benefit of doubt,” she said.
With regard to the murder charge, Judge Shivute said having considered the totality of the evidence and its accumulative effect, she is of the view that it is safe to draw an inference, as it appears to be the only inference to be drawn – that the accused is the one who killed the victim by way of strangulation.
Diedericks was a guest at the engagement party of Februarie – at his behest, as he wanted her to be a witness at his wedding.
After the party ended, two of the people, who later became State witnesses, decided to transport Diedericks back to her residence, as she was under the influence of intoxicating liquor.
Although Februarie did not reside at the victim’s residence, he insisted on accompanying the group to Diedericks’ home.
The State witnesses testified Februarie and the victim were dropped off at her home.
It was contended by Februarie that the court wrongly convicted him of murder while he was acquitted on a charge of rape that occurred at the same place at the same time.
According to the judge, his conviction on the murder charge is not dependent on the other count he was acquitted on.
She said she gave her reasons on why he was acquitted on the rape charge and finds the argument baseless.
Februarie, who has maintained his innocence throughout the trial and judgement, can still petition the chief justice.