An attempt by a murder convict to appeal his 20-year sentence in the Supreme Court was shot down by the High Court on Friday. High Court Judge Eileen Rakow dismissed the application by Jan Moses Uamunika (50) for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The court indicated that the reasons for the order would be made available at a later stage. Uamunika was seeking leave from the High Court so that he could appeal his sentence in the Supreme Court, citing the High Court misdirected itself when it imposed a 20-year sentence on him.
In July 2020, Rakow convicted Uamunika on a charge of murder and using a motor-vehicle without the owner’s consent. He was found guilty of having murdered Rehoboth farmer Joseph Adriaan (Shorty) Barth during August 2017.
Consequently, she sentenced him to 25 years imprisonment, of which five years were suspended for five years with conditions. According to the judge, Uamunika was convicted of a serious offence, and a custodial sentence was thus unavoidable.
The court held that Barth was severely beaten, suffered from a skull fracture which ultimately caused his death, broken ribs, various defensive wounds on his hands, contusions on his chest, arms and back, and two gunshot wounds on his legs. He was further tied up. He later managed to free himself and crawled to the side of the house where he died, and was found the next day. Barth died on the night of 31 August 2017.
According to Rakow, there was a relationship between the victim and Uamunika – that of employee and employer – and they knew each other. The existence of this relationship is seen as an aggravating factor, she stated. His defence lawyer Titus Mbaeva said they do not dispute that Barth was vulnerable, they are simply challenging the hefty sentence imposed on him.
He argued that the sentence imposed is not correct if the court were to compare it to cases with similar circumstances. However, the State through prosecutor Antonia Verhoef said Uamunika’s 20-year sentence was imposed in relation to the circumstances of his offence, which was a vicious attack on a vulnerable 69-year-old who posed no imminent threat to him.
She further said he had no prospect of winning his appeal should he be allowed to go to the Supreme Court.