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Former top cop to spend 36 years behind bars

2019-02-26  Roland Routh

Former top cop to spend 36 years behind bars

WINDHOEK - Depending on his behaviour in custody, a former chief police detective will have to spend the better part of three decades behind bars after Windhoek High Court Judge Dinnah Usiku sentenced him to 36 years imprisonment for murdering an 18-year-old because of jealousy over a woman.

Lazarus Oscar Aweseb, 50, who was convicted for the murder of 18-year-old Odilo Rathebe Motonane on March 22, 2016 during a jealous rage and the attempted murder of Mildred Haoses as well as counts of possession of a firearm without a licence, possession of ammunition without a licence and malicious damage to property, but acquitted on a charge of theft, left the high court at the Windhoek Correctional Facility in handcuffs after hearing his fate. 

A smiling and cheerful Aweseb said his goodbyes to family members after enjoying some meat and chicken brought by relatives before being taken to jail to serve out his sentence. 

The judge sentenced him to 28 years for murder, eight years for attempted murder, two years for possession of a firearm without a licence, two years for unlawful possession of ammunition and six months for malicious damage to property.

It was however ordered that the sentences on the arms and ammunition charges and the charge on the property damage run concurrent with the sentence on the attempted murder charge, leaving him with 36 years effectively. Should he be well-behaved while in custody he can see daylight again after serving two thirds of the total sentence.

According to Judge Usiku, the duty of a court is to consider all the factors relevant to sentencing, namely the personal circumstances of an accused, the crimes committed as well as the interests of society. 

“The fact that accused is a first offender weighs in his favour,” the judge said, as well as the period he spent in custody waiting for his trial to be finalised. Furthermore, she said, the absence of real remorse on the part of the accused and the prevalence of the offences of murder and attempted murder are another aggravating factor and important to consider imposing sentences that will have a deterrent effect. 

“Indeed, our country as a whole has experienced a wave of violent crimes and there is therefore a need to effectively combat such crimes, thus the emphasis has now changed from individualisation to deterrence, in particular where those who are charged with the duty to combat crimes are themselves committing crimes,” Judge Usiku stressed. She further said efforts by Aweseb to make amends for his deed such as offering to help with the deceased’s children’s education or towards the deceased’s tombstone only came at the eleventh hour which cast doubt on the sincerity of his gestures. 

“It would have been taken more serious if he had made the offer known to the family soon after the death,” the judge said and continued: “In fact, to date, accused does not seem to have wholeheartedly accepted his unlawful conduct. In this premise I am not satisfied that he has shown remorse for what he has done. ‘’  

The judge further said it is common knowledge that all crimes have harsh effects on society. 
“What distinguishes domestic violence is its hidden, repetitive character and its unreasonable effects on our society and in particular on family life.” In this instance, the judge said, the offender was a person tasked with preventing crime, but who went beyond his powers and can be regarded as a danger to society that must be removed from society for a substantial time.


2019-02-26  Roland Routh

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