A young man from Outjo, who was convicted of the brutal murder of his girlfriend, was sentenced to an effective jail term of 28 years by Windhoek High Court Judge Naomi Shivute.
Robert Funny Useb (24), who was 21 years old when he committed the murder, was convicted by Judge Shivute of murder with direct intent, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, for the murder of 19-year-old Selma Khamuxas by stabbing her at least five times all over her body on 29 March 2019 at a bar in the Soweto location of Outjo.
It was charged by the State that during the period in question, the accused and victim were involved in an intimate relationship.
According to the indictment on the night in question, they were socialising at a bar, and the victim was talking to other men and also requested her ex-boyfriend to buy her some alcohol.
This angered the accused, and he took out a knife and started stabbing the victim all over her body, it is alleged.
The indictment further reads the victim then tried to run away, and the accused chased her and continued stabbing her.
It is further alleged that after Useb stabbed the victim at least five times, other patrons at the bar came to her rescue and subdued the accused.
She died due to hypovolemic shock, caused by the multiple stab wounds whilst being transported to a nearby hospital.
While the mother of the victim asked the court to sentence Useb to life imprisonment so his mother can feel the same way she does, the judge said too severe a sentence or too lenient a sentence under the circumstances does not serve the interest of society.
She further said cases of domestic violence against defenceless women are on the increase.
“The accused committed a cruel, violent and disgusting crime. He was following the deceased, who was running away from him like a predator following its prey. At the same time, he was stabbing her several times until she departed. The accused did not exercise any mercy on his victim,” the judge remarked.
According to her, she views domestic violence cases in a serious light, especially where loss of life is involved. In this instance, the judge said, the victim died at the tender age of 19, and she left a baby of eight months old.
The poor baby has been deprived of her motherly love and care.
Now, she has to grow up without a mother, which is aggravating, the judge remarked.
“Although the accused is a youthful offender, who has no previous convictions, he committed a despicable act, the judge said and continued: The court is alive to the fact that the accused spent three years in custody, awaiting the finalisation of his trial. However, such period is not arithmetically discounted and subtracted from the overall sum of imprisonment imposed. This is a factor which is considered together with other factors such as the culpability of the accused and his or her moral blameworthiness to arrive at an appropriate sentence in all the circumstances of a particular case.”
To arrive at an appropriate sentence, the judge stated, the court must balance the personal circumstances of an accused with the interest of society and the circumstances of the crime.
Society views domestic violence in a serious light, and it demands that the sentence should fit the crime – and in the present instance, the seriousness and prevalence of violence against women in the domestic context as well as the interest of society outweigh the personal circumstances of the accused.
The State was presented by Ian Malumani and the accused by legal aid lawyer Meriam Kandoni.