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Judge dismisses cops’ murder conviction appeal

2020-12-11  Roland Routh

Judge dismisses cops’ murder conviction appeal

High Court Judge Dinnah Usiku on Wednesday dismissed an appeal against conviction by three former Windhoek City Police officers and a counter appeal on the 10-year sentence by the State.

The judge convicted the accused of the murder of 17-year-old Mandela Ramakhutla in April 2013 and slapped each with a 10-year effective jail term. Judge Usiku sentenced Werner Johannes Shetekela (36), Kleopas Shiikalepo Kapalanga (33) and Elia Nakale (39) to 14 years behind bars on the murder conviction and 12 months on the defeating the course of justice conviction. 

She, however, ordered that four years of the murder sentence be suspended for five years on condition that the convicts are not convicted of the crime of murder during the period of suspension. 
At the same time, the State through the office of the prosecutor general wants the judge to grant them leave to appeal the 10-year sentence.

According to the judge, she sees no prospects that another court will come to a different conclusion than her. She said her finding is that the accused should have foreseen that their assault on the deceased could cause his death and that they reconciled themselves with the fact.

“Regardless of the three applicants having wished for the deceased to die from blunt force trauma, but reconciled themselves with the possibility that the deceased could die, they committed murder in the form of dollus eventualis. All three applicants subjectively appreciated that the deceased can die from an assault caused by blunt force,” the judge remarked.
She went on to say that any person of normal intelligence can be said to have appreciated the circumstances of the events that led up to the death of the deceased and this is compounded further by the fact that the applicants were law enforcement officers, with the necessary training and intellect to appreciate their conduct and the consequence that would ensue therefrom. 

“They were not mere members of the general population,” the judge stressed.  She further said that in convicting the applicants on the charge of murder, the court considered the cumulative effect of all the evidence.

“The court considered the totality of the evidence and to guard against a tendency of focussing too intently upon separate and individual parts of what is, after a mosaic of proof. Doubts about one aspect of evidence led in the trial may arise when that aspect is viewed in isolation. These doubts may, however, be set at rest when it is evaluated again together with all the other available evidence. Therefore, the evidence must be looked at as a whole, and not viewed in isolation,” the judge explained. 
The applicants were represented by Sisa Namandje on instructions of Kadhila Amoomo and the State by Cliff Lutibezi.

2020-12-11  Roland Routh

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