WINDHOEK - Eldrin Goliath, the 22-year-old resident of Rehoboth who was convicted on a charge of rape, murder with direct intent and theft was sentenced to an effective 28 years imprisonment on Friday morning, by Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg.
Goliath was slapped with a prison term of 23 years for the murder conviction, 10 years on the rape count and three years on the count of theft. The judge however ordered that five years of the rape sentence and the whole sentence of the theft count run concurrent with the sentence on the murder charge.
Judge Liebenberg convicted Goliath for the rape and murder of 16-year-old Camilla Gabriella Steyn in Rehoboth during the early morning hours of November 06, 2016.
He was also convicted on a count of theft in relation to the robbery charge he faced for stealing Steyn’s running shoes and her cellphone.
At the start of his trial, Goliath wanted to plead guilty to the murder charge, but denied that he raped and robbed her which the state rejected. In a plea explanation read into the record by his state funded lawyer, Mese Tjituri, the accused claimed he “blacked out” when he strangled the deceased. Judge Liebenberg however entered a plea of not guilty because it seem to him that Goliath pleads non-pathological criminal incapacity.
Judge Liebenberg said the offences of rape and murder are serious and would normally attract severe punishment. Moreover, he said, where the life of a young 16-year old girl was taken in circumstances which render this yet another senseless murder; something we as a society shamefully has become accustomed to. And this need not and should not be the case, he continued. “Crimes like murder and rape not only militate against society’s most basic values and principles, it also trashes the victim’s fundamental rights enshrined in the supreme law of the land, the Namibian Constitution,” the judge said and added: Society looks at the courts for protection and to uphold the rule of law; while the courts are under a duty to reflect in its judgments society’s indignation and antipathy of those who are guilty of unbecoming and despicable behaviour, as encountered in this case. He went on to say criticism might be levelled at the deceased, being a young girl out alone on the streets of Rehoboth late at night; something that apparently happened before as well as against the parents for not being more involved and informed about their daughter’s whereabouts at that time of night. But, the judge asked, why must anyone feel unsafe on the streets at any time of the day? “Have we become a nation who must align our lifestyles and freedoms to cater for criminals who roam the streets like predators in waiting for their prey?” he wanted to know.
The judge further said that it saddens him to say that, judging from the increase of serious criminal case coming before the High Court, it would appear that there is a significant increase in the number of rogue elements in our society who exploit any possible situation to their own benefit, in all instances at the expense of innocent law-abiding citizens.
“From the court’s perspective, the only way to try and turn the tide is to impose harsher sentences and to send out a clear message to like minded criminals that such behaviour will not be tolerated, and will be met with severe punishment,” Judge Liebenberg stressed.
With regard to the current case, the judge said the accused has been convicted of serious offences, all of which deserves lengthy custodial sentences, particularly on the murder and rape charges. While the State argued for the imposition of a life sentence, the judge said the circumstances of the case, the fact that the offences were committed at the spur of the moment and the youthfulness of the accused significantly impact on the sentence to be imposed.
He said that the sentence he imposed are in his considered opinion just as the personal circumstances of the accused was regarded as well as the seriousness of the crimes committed and the interests of society.
The judge is of the view that this is an instance where the circumstances are such that the court should show mercy on the accused.
The state was represented by Advocate Marthino Olivier.