Oshakati High Court Judge Johanna Salionga has sentenced a man she convicted of murdering his drinking buddy and namesake to an effective 10 years imprisonment.
The judge convicted Ahas Ndakondja Thomas (46) on a charge of murder with direct intent in May this year.
She rejected his plea of self-defence, and said that while the deceased was the initial aggressor, at the time of the stabbing the accused had removed the knife from the deceased and was thus no longer in imminent danger.
“The accused was in control when he succeeded in averting the danger by dispossessing the deceased of the knife. He had no reason to believe his life was in danger. The moment the imminent danger ceased to exist, any attack thereafter amounts to revenge,” Salionga said when she convicted Thomas.
She added that the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Thomas intended to bring about the death of the victim, Ahas Nampila, and subjectively foresaw death as a substantial possibility. He also grossly exceeded the bounds of self-defence when he repeatedly stabbed the undefended victim with a dangerous weapon in vengeance or retaliation.
According to the judge, Thomas used the same knife to unlawfully take away the life of someone he knew very well.
“The deceased suffered three penetrating wounds to the thoracic cavity, one perforating the upper lip, four incised and one defensive wound as well as abrasions,” the judge remarked. She observed that this was one of the most barbaric and wicked attacks on a defenceless victim. Although the accused suffered a life-threatening wound in his attempt to remove the knife from the victim, the judge reiterated that by stabbing Nampila nine times, he exceeded the bounds of self-defence.
The judge, however, said the fact that the offence was not pre-meditated and the accused suffered a “lifelong mortal wound” that will require medical supervision time and again, convinces her that leniency is required.
However, the judge stressed that a custodial sentence is unavoidable, but suspending part of it is advised.
In the end, she sentenced Thomas to 15 years, with five years suspended for five years on condition that he is not convicted of murder or attempted murder during the period of suspension.
According to the evidence, the incident happened at a cuca shop at Okamule when the victim, Thomas and two other men contributed money to buy a bottle of wine. After they bought the wine, the accused took the wine and walked away, which prompted the deceased to follow him. A scuffle ensued, and the accused was stabbed on his left wrist with an Okapi knife by the deceased.
They were then separated and proceeded to consume the wine, although the accused did not partake. Another scuffle ensued shortly thereafter, and Thomas managed to wrestle the knife away from the deceased and started stabbing him several times.
Thereafter, he threw the knife on the ground and left. The deceased died at the Oshakati state hospital due to his injuries.
The accused was represented by Beatrix Boois, and the State by Marianne Nghiyoonanye.