The State wants the High Court to sentence a now 17-year-old teenager from Rehoboth, who admitted that he killed a 57-year-old woman by stoning her to death when he was only 14, as an adult. “In the present case, if this accused had been an adult person, there is no doubt that he would have been a candidate who could receive a term of life imprisonment,” deputy prosecutor general Nita Meyer told Windhoek High Court Judge Dinnah Usiku last week.
“The nature of the offences he committed are vicious and violent to such an extent that it completely overshadows the personal circumstances of the accused. And as such, the State submits that the court cannot deviate a great deal from the sentence it would have normally imposed for an adult offender”, she submitted.
Meyer said this particular case, because of its gruesome nature, has enjoyed widespread media attention and public interest. Given the circumstances, society expects from the court to show its disapproval and indignation through the imposition of a suitable sentence.
She added that it would also be in the interest of society that a strong message should go out to its younger members, such as the accused, that they are equally required to respect the law and the rights of others, and that an impression is not created that juvenile offenders will be treated with great leniency when they commit brutal and shocking crimes.
Meyer then asked the court to sentence the youngster, who may not be identified as he is under-aged, to a combined 45 years imprisonment composed of 20 years for murder, 10 years for rape, one year for theft, five years for violating a dead human body, another one year for theft, and four years each on the two arson convictions.
The teenager was convicted upon his own admission for the murder of Sarah Jagger during the period 24 to 25 September 2018 near the Bahnhoff Station in the Rehoboth district.
His legal aid lawyer Linus Samaria asked the court to take into account the age of the accused, and the fact that he is not yet fully grown when determining sentence. He also asked the court to consider that the accused did not waste the court’s time with fanciful defences, but admitted his guilt from the get-go.
Samaria further asked the court to impose a sentence which would be aimed at the rehabilitative aspect, instead of imposing a sentence that would be so harsh as to “unfairly” penalise and destroy the teenager. While he did not suggest terms of imprisonment, he asked the court to consider ordering concurrent sentences.
According to the summary of substantial facts in the indictment, the accused attacked the deceased, who was alone and walking on a gravel road from Bahnhoff Station to Farm Aoxas, and dragged her a distance away from the road.
He then undressed the deceased while kicking her and hitting her with stones, in the process fracturing her skull and ribs, and then raped her at least two times, it is alleged.
The victim died on the scene due to blunt impact head and chest injuries, the indictment states.
Judge Usiku indicated she will deliver sentence on 27 September.
The teenager remains in custody.