The State has asked the court to dismiss an appeal against the conviction and 20-year sentence of an Okahandja resident for killing his love rival.
In court documents, the State wants the High Court to dismiss the appeal of Joseph Garoëb who was convicted and subsequently sentenced to 20-years-imprisonment by the Windhoek Regional Court in 2016.
Magistrate Elina Nandago at the time said Garoëb senselessly killed Michael Swartbooi – cutting his life short unnecessarily. She said although Garoëb and Swartbooi were dating the same woman, it was not a valid reason for him to stab him multiple times, causing his death. Swartbooi died in Okahandja on 17 December 2011.
State prosecutor Dominic Lisulo argued the State proved its case beyond reasonable doubt during the trial, which consequently resulted in Garoëb’s conviction.
Lisulo explained the State’s witnesses did not contradict themselves or one another in any respect, material to the charges on which Garoëb was prosecuted and convicted. Witnesses testified that there was no imminent attack on the accused and that Swarbooi did not have any weapon on him. “He was the one that attacked the deceased (Garoëb) from the back by stabbing him. The deceased was unable to defend himself. The version that he was acting in self defence should be dismissed,” noted Lisulo.
He said the assault was carried out with the purpose of causing Swartbooi’s death.
On the sentence, the State is of the view that all of Garoëb’s personal circumstances were considered by the court in its sentencing process, including that of him being a first-time offender.
“However, first time offenders are not entitled to non-custodial sentences, merely because they are first time offenders. He did not even tender any apology to the deceased family nor did he show remorse for what he has done,” said Lisulo.
In his appeal, Garoëb said the trial court convicted him on a charge of murder without sufficient evidence. He says the court failed to consider that although he admitted to stabbing the victim, he was acting in self-defence as the victim had a sharp object.
He argued the court erred in law and fact when it allegedly failed to take judicious caution of contradictory evidence submitted by the State’s witnesses during the trial.
On his sentence, Garoëb is arguing that the sentence imposed is “shocking and inappropriate”.
He further said the court failed to put his personal circumstances into consideration and overemphasised that he did not show remorse during the trial when he testified.
He has since denied guilt, citing he had no intention of killing Swartbooi he only acted in self defence.
Witnesses testified that the stabbing resulted from an argument from which Garoëb was enquiring about why Swartbooi was dating his girlfriend. The men met at a local bar. Swartbooi denied being in a relationship with Garoëb’s girlfriend. However, when he left the bar, Garoëb followed him and stabbed him in the back with a knife, according to State witnesses.
The hearing is scheduled for 21 January before judge Hosea Angula.