• July 10th, 2020

Farmworker pleads not guilty to murder

A farmworker from the Maltahöhe district pleaded not guilty in the Windhoek High Court to a charge of murder over the death of the mother of his four children.
Frans Abraham answered not guilty when State prosecutor Ian Malumani read out the charges of murder and attempted murder to him.
He is charged with killing Elizabeth Swartbooi and of attempting to kill his then three-week-old son.
According to the charge sheet, during the 31 December 2018 and 1 January 2019 period, Abraham unlawfully and intentionally assaulted Swartbooi by stabbing her at least twice with a knife and by hitting her on the face with the intent to murder her, causing Swartbooi to die on 2 January 2019 at the Mariental state hospital.

It is further alleged that the assault caused Swartbooi, who was holding the baby during the assault, to drop the baby, causing him to fall to the ground on his head. Abraham was directly responsible and thus guilty of attempted murder.
According to the indictment, the accused and deceased were in a domestic relationship, as they were living together like marriage and had four children together.

During the late-night hours of 31 December 2018 and 1 January 2019 on a farm in the district of Maltahöhe, after a New Year’s celebration, the accused assaulted the deceased by hitting her with a clenched fist in the face and stabbing her with a knife on her arm and abdomen. 
During the attack, the indictment further state, the deceased was carrying the couple’s three-week-old baby in her arms and due to the attack, she lost her hold and the baby fell to the ground.

Yesterday, the investigating officer in the matter, Warrant Officer Jan Sogaib, testified he warned the accused of his rights, including the right not to incriminate himself and the right to legal aid when he first interrogated the accused.
The defence counsel was, however, quick to object to Sogaib’s testimony, as he said his client disputes that his rights were explained to him.
Sogaib was also expected to testify about certain admission the accused allegedly made to him but Milton Engelbrecht, who is representing Abraham on instructions from legal aid, put a stop to it, saying the admissions are likewise disputed and that the accused claims he never had any discussions with Sogaib.

This led to a trial-within-a-trial to be held to determine the admissibility of the officer’s evidence. The trial was remanded to Thursday for a ruling on the mini-trial.
Abraham remains in custody at the Windhoek Correctional facility’s section for trial awaiting inmates. – rrouth@nepc.com.na

Roland Routh
2020-06-17 10:18:34 | 23 days ago

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