WINDHOEK – An Angolan convicted on a charge of culpable homicide by Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Alfred Siboleka in May this year was sentenced to a prison term of 10 years yesterday.
Simon Tobias Ndeshifa, 39, admitted that he assaulted his 17-year-old common-law wife by beating her with a stick at a farm in the Outjo district in November 2014, but denied that he intended to kill her, or foresaw his actions could cause her death.
Judge Siboleka however found that there was credible evidence that, while in a drunken state, he assaulted Hinautiele Kandele Ndemupandula with a stick during the evening of November 1, 2014 at the farm Dornputz, where they were living in the Outjo area.
However, the judge said, because of the state of mind that Ndeshifa was in as a result of his drunkenness, which included partial amnesia, he did not have an intention to kill Ndemupandula when he beat her.
He found Ndeshifa not guilty on a charge of murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, but of culpable homicide instead.
During the sentencing yesterday, Judge Siboleka repeated the evidence of Ndeshifa that he did not know how the assault on the deceased started.
The judge said that the only reason the deceased died was because she refused to go back to their residence while it was still dark.
He said the deceased suggested they sleep over and return home the next day which led to the attack on her.
During the trial, evidence was led that Ndeshifa and the deceased were drinking alcohol with other farmworkers at a cattle post on the farm, whereafter Ndeshifa returned to his residence without Ndemupandula.
Later that evening Ndeshifa received a call from a witness, who told him that Ndemupandula was sleeping in a hut at the cattle post they were socialising at earlier that evening
After returning to the cattle post to fetch Ndemupandula and her refusing to accompany him he assaulted her with the stick and demanded Ndemupandula accompany him home.
He however denied that his intention was to kill her or that he could have foresaw she would die as a result of the injuries he inflicted on her.
Judge Siboleka said the reason advanced by the legal counsel for the accused, Titus Ipumbu, why Ndeshifa did not show any remorse, namely that he was under the influence of alcohol and could thus not remember much of what happened, is plausible.
The judge said Ndeshifa did testify under oath that he does not feel good about the death of his girlfriend which could be construed as remorse.
Judge Siboleka said that while adhering to society’s plea to the courts to be protected from marauding criminals, he took into consideration that the accused has spent four years and six months in custody trial awaiting.
However, the judge said, the attack on the young and defenceless 17-year-old victim was vicious, she pregnant with the accused’s child and the incident occurred in a domestic setting which makes it aggravating.
Deputy Prosecutor General Karin Esterhuizen appeared for the State.