The defence lawyer, representing a farmworker accused of killing his girlfriend and mother to his children in Maltahöhe district, says her death was accidental.
Milton Engelbrecht, the lawyer to Frans Abraham, argued yesterday in the High Court that Abraham had no intention of stabbing or killing his girlfriend and mother of his four children, Elizabeth Swartbooi. Swartbooi died on 2 January 2019 at the Mariental state hospital from a stab wound to the abdomen.
Engelbrecht argued according to Abraham, he and Swartbooi were involved in a physical fight in which she had a knife. It was during the scuffle that Swartbooi was accidentally stabbed.
He further noted the court should approach the evidence presented during the trial with caution, as there are many conflicting versions of what transpired on the date in question.
However, Engelbrecht said Abraham’s version should be accepted as the probable truth.
“But, should the court dismiss his version and conclude that he negligently caused the death of the deceased, we plead that he be convicted on a lesser charge of culpable homicide and not murder,” said Engelbrecht.
On the charge of culpable homicide, on which the State alleges that Abraham attempted to kill his then three-week-old son, Engelbrecht said the State failed to bring forth any medical reports or witnesses to that effect.
According to the State, between 31 December 2018 and 1 January 2019, Abraham hit Swartbooi in the face with a clenched fist. He further stabbed her on her arm and abdomen.
During the attack, Swartbooi was carrying the couple’s three-week-old baby in her arms and due to the attack, she lost hold of him and the baby fell to the ground. The baby sustained head injuries.
State prosecutor Ian Malumani argued that an eyewitness saw Abraham hit Swartbooi in the face and stabbing her with a knife in the abdomen. Malumani said the eyewitness’ version is corroborated by the autopsy report. He added the State has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Abraham intentionally killed Swartbooi.
On the charge of culpable homicide, Malumani said Swartbooi should be convicted on that charge as well.
“The accused knew that by hitting the deceased who was carrying the child would result in her losing hold of the minor, resulting in him falling on the ground,” argued Malumani.
Judge Dinah Usiku will give her judgment in the case on 3 December. Abraham remains in police custody at the Windhoek Correctional facility.