Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Eileen Rakow yesterday sentenced a 49-year-old man convicted of murdering Rehoboth farmer Joseph Adriaan Barth to an effective 20 years imprisonment.
Rakow convicted Jan Moses Uamunika on a charge of murder, acquitted him on a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances, but convicted him on the lesser charge of using a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent.
He was further acquitted on a charge of theft. She sentenced him to 25 years on the murder count of which five years were suspended for five years on condition that Uamunika is not convicted of murder during the period of suspension.
On the motor vehicle count, she sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment but ordered that the sentences run concurrently.
According to the judge, Uamunika was convicted of a serious offence and a custodial sentence was unavoidable. He was convicted of killing the 69-year-old Barth on his farm Naruchas outside Rehoboth during the period of 30-31 August in 2017.
He also robbed him of a small solar panel (valued at N$500), one brown leather wallet (valued at N$150), a white VW Golf sedan (valued at N$12 500) and the keys to the vehicle. He was further accused of stealing one STK cellphone and SIM card from the victim for which he was found not guilty. According to Rakow, the crime of murder is serious in general and in this instance, the injuries inflicted to the deceased were quite brutal.
“The deceased, although in good health, was 69 years old. He was severely beaten, he suffered from a skull fracture which ultimately caused his death, broken ribs, various defensive wounds on his hands, contusions on his chest, arms and back, and two gunshot wounds on his legs.
He was further tied up and left exposed to the elements,” the judge remarked. She further said that the deceased managed to free himself and crawled to the side of the house where he died and was found the next day.
According to Rakow, there was a relationship between the victim and Uamunika – that of employee and employer – and they knew each other. The existence of this relationship is seen as an aggravating factor, she stated. She further said that the accused is a first offender, which counts in his favour. The judge further stated that society will be best served in the accused receiving an appropriate sentence that will deter him and other members of the community from committing the offence of murder, in giving him the opportunity to rehabilitate and becoming a useful member of society after his release and a sentence that expresses the abhorrence of society sufficiently. “Society look at the courts for their protection against perpetrators of crime and murder, especially murder of farmers are frowned upon,” the judge said. According to her, Uamunika expressed remorse through his evidence although he indicated that it was never his intention to kill the deceased. She said that the murder was not a pre-meditated one and the verdict of murder without a direct intent is a mitigating factor. However, the judge said, taking into account the seriousness of the offence, a period of incarceration is unavoidable and the fact that he does not have the means to pay a fine on the vehicle conviction, a further term of imprisonment should also be imposed. Milton Engelbrecht represented Uamunika on instructions of Legal Aid and the prosecution by Basson Lilungwe.