Roland Routh Windhoek-High Court Judge Naomi Shivute found Aranos farmer Willem Visagie Barnard, 62, guilty of murder with direct intent read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act when she delivered judgment in the trial on Tuesday. She found Barnard was the person responsible for killing his 55-year-old wife, Anette Barnard, with a single gunshot to the head at the couple’s farm Choris at Aranos, on April 9, 2010. Barnard claimed he had blacked out after a heavy drinking session combined with him taking prescription drugs – and that when he “woke up” he found the deceased lying with her head on the coffee table with a bullet wound through her skull. In his plea explanation submitted to court at the start of his trial, he said that if the court found that he was the one who pulled the trigger, he would then claim non-pathological criminal incapacity, which in his case would be temporary insanity caused by taking a combination of Benzodiazepine drugs and alcohol. However, Judge Shivute was not inclined to believe that. “Although the substances taken by the accused are capable of causing loss of memory, which may result in temporary non-pathological criminal incapability as testified to by Dr Max, a holistic approach to all the evidence reveals that the accused was in control of his mental faculties, although he was drunk to a certain extent,” the judge said. She went on to say that Barnard was able to remember most of what had happened, but conveniently had a lapse of memory of the crucial event. According to the judge, Barnard’s specific actions before he allegedly had a blackout and his actions after he regained consciousness and losing it again, are not consistent with the behaviour expected from a person who had no recollection of the critical moment. “I have therefore come to the inescapable conclusion that the accused is hiding behind the defence of non-pathological criminal incapacity in order to escape liability for his actions,” the judge concluded. She said she was satisfied the State had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was at all material times conscious and was able to direct his conduct and distinguish between right and wrong. According to the judge, when taking the evidence as a whole, the only inference that can be drawn is that Barnard is the one that shot the deceased, and by shooting her on a vital part of the body with a firearm, namely the head, the only conclusion to come to is that he intended to kill the victim. Barnard, who was on bail for the duration of his trial, is to be remanded in custody at the Windhoek central prison trial-awaiting section, after his bail was cancelled upon conviction. The matter was postponed to February 6 and 7 for pre-sentencing procedures. Advocates Cliff Lutibezi and Palmer Khumalo prosecuted and Advocate Louis Botes appeared for Barnard on instructions from SC Garbers.
New Era Reporter
2018-01-25 09:29:54 9 months ago