WINDHOEK – A 23-year-old man, who admitted that he killed his girlfriend and mother of his minor child by hitting her with an axe on her head, was sentenced to an effective 25 years in prison yesterday by Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Kaijata Kangueehi.
Johannes Bock pleaded guilty to a charge of murder read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act at the start of his trial about two weeks ago.
According to the plea, he killed Martha Afrikaner who was 22 at the time of her demise at farm Dabis near Gobabis on 5 October 2017 because the deceased ignored him when he spoke to her about her adulterous affair with her ex-boyfriend.
Judge Kangueehi said that, sadly, it is no mystery that the courts have grappled with offenders who find themselves guilty of offences committed in a domestic context. “This offence has climbed to such heights that it is now a daily occurrence in the lives of ordinary citizens living in our communities that women and children are battered, bruised and slaughtered. Many a time for selfish and narcissistic reasons,” he said.
In this matter, the judge said, the accused stated that he felt provoked and angry when he inflicted the deadly blow that ended the deceased’s life.
He went on to say that while it is true that the accused is a young person, the court will not allow him to hide behind his youthfulness and he will be held accountable for serious offences, such as the current matter.
The judge further said that Bock has asked for forgiveness from the court and the family of the deceased, but that there is a difference between regret and true remorse.
“The accused in this matter testified that he is sorry for what he has done. The question is whether the accused has done or expressed an act which can show his inner sorrow. The accused conceded that he did not apologise to the father of the deceased and his explanation therefore that he was in custody. The court is not convinced the accused’s bare apology went beyond its mere say so. However, when his apology is taken together with his admittance of criminal deeds and taking into account that the accused testified in mitigation, does sway these factors cumulatively in his favour,” Judge Kangueehi stated.
He further said that in certain instances, a plea of guilty may indeed be a mitigating factor, but where it is clear that ‘the writing is on the wall’ and an accused has no viable defence, and pleads guilty in the hope of gaining some benefit from it, it should not count in mitigation of sentence unless accompanied by genuine and demonstrable expression of remorse which was absent in the present instance.
“Looking at the fact of this matter, the accused killed the deceased just after he chased her,” the judge said and continued that he concluded that ‘the writing was indeed on the wall’ and the accused had no choice but to plead guilty.
According to Judge Kangueehi, the sheer weight of the interest of society outweighs the mitigating factors proffered by the accused.
A sentence which does not reflect the indignation of the community and the brutality with which this murder was committed will surely lead to the disrepute of the administration of justice and it’s the court’s duty to pass a sentence which promotes the respect for and the upholding of the law, the judge concluded before he sentenced Bock to 30 years and suspended five years for five years on condition that Bock is not convicted of an offence involving violence during the period of suspension.
Bock was represented by Milton Engelbrecht on the instructions of legal aid and the prosecution by Advocate Erich Moyo.
2019-10-24 07:09:07 | 29 days ago