WINDHOEK - Three judges of the Supreme Court overturned a Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act acquittal of a man accused of raping and murdering a young woman in 2013.
Franciscus Narimab is accused of having killed 18-year-old Alwina Uri-Khos during the period March 28 and 29 in 2013, in a bushy area between Shandumbala and the Western Bypass in Windhoek.
Acting Judge of Appeal Sylvester Mainga, in agreement with Acting Judges of Appeal Dave Smuts and Elton Hoff, found that on the evidence presented during the trial, the discharge of Franciscus Narimab was premature and that he was to be placed on his defence.
He will now join his co-accused Ruben Fritz when their trial resume after a hiatus of more than two years, while the outcome of the Prosecutor General’s appeal against the acquittal of Narimab was pending.
They are facing charges of murder, two counts of rape, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice each.
The state is alleging that the two accused took turns to rape Uri-Khos during the period March 28 and 29 in 2013, while the other held her down after taking her to a bushy area between Shandumbala and the Western Bypass in Windhoek.
It is further alleged that both accused killed the deceased by hitting her with stones on her head and she died, at the scene, of severe head injuries due to blunt force impact trauma.
The accused then allegedly robbed Uri-Khos of her cellphone, SIM card, one pair of shoes and trousers. It is further alleged that they destroyed the SIM card and sold the cellular phone and instructed the mother of Fritz to give false information to the police.
It is further alleged they disposed off the shoes and trouser of the deceased in a way unknown to the police.
However, at the end of the state’s case, Mbanga Siyomunji, the state funded defence counsel for Narimab, lodge a Section 174 application, submitting that there was no evidence presented upon which a reasonable court may convict Narimab and therefore he should be discharged on all counts.
Windhoek High Court Judge Boas Usiku agreed with Siyomunji and discharged Narimab on March 15, 2017.
Not satisfied with the decision of the judge, State Advocate Ethel Ndlovu appealed that decision in the Supreme Court.
She argued that Judge Usiku misdirected himself, or alternatively erred in law and/or in fact, when he ruled in favour of Narimab when enough circumstantial evidence was presented that warranted answers from Narimab.
Judge of Appeal Mainga agreed with Ndlovu and said that both men were last seen in the presence of the deceased and that both of them admitted to have sold the cellphone of the deceased. That alone, Judge Mainga said, is sufficient to put both accused on their defence.
The matter will possibly be allocated a trial date at the next High Court review date.
Narimab and Fritz have been in custody since their arrest five days after the discovery of the body of their alleged victim until Narimab was released after spending at least four years awaiting trial.
Fritz remained in custody.