13 August 2012

Namibia: 35 Years for Lover's Murder

Oshakati — Paulus Tomas a resident of the Oshakati area who was convicted of having bludgeoned his girlfriend to death in late 2010 will have to spend the next thirty-five years in jail, Judge Christie Liebenberg ruled last Friday when he sentenced the accused.

Tomas who was 26 when he committed the murder was found guilty of murder in the High Court at Oshakati on Monday 30 July 2012. According to Judge Liebenberg although Tomas elected not to give evidence in mitigation, his personal circumstances were put before court.

The deceased was brutally attacked with a hoe and struck on the head several times with such force that she succumbed to head injuries at the scene. The Judge noted that the deceased died a violent death and was left at her own mercy until she died after the assault.

"It seem unthinkable that any one could be driven to such anger or rage and is provoked to act in the manner the accused did," the Judge noted.

Tomas and his victim were in a romantic relationship from which a daughter, now three years old was born to them. The child went to live her maternal grandmother, who also passed away after the death of her mother and her current whereabouts are currently unknown to Tomas.

Judge Liebenberg further said Tomas at no stage during his trial rendered any explanation for the killing of Lazarus or expressed any remorse for the pain and hardship he has brought upon the deceased's family, especially to his own child who now has to grow up without a mother and to a large extent her father.

The Judge further said that since the accused did not take the court into his confidence as to what led to the murder, the only conclusion that can be made is that it was a "senseless killing where a much weaker and defenceless person, the accused's own girlfriend and the mother of his only child, became the victim of the one who was supposed to protect and love her."

Judge Liebenberg also concluded that the fact that Tomas refused to share his reason for the killing with the court and the absence of remorse are aggravating factors.

Judge Liebenberg continued that the courts, when it comes to imposing punishment, should fully take into account the important need of society "to root out the evil of domestic violence and violence against women and children" and that the message must be that crimes involving domestic violence in Namibia will not be tolerated and that sentences imposed in this regard will be severe.

According to Judge Liebenberg there is a wide spread outrage in society against these type of murders in our society and that unless the courts step in and impose proper punishment, society may decide to take the law into its own hands.

Judge Liebenberg then imposed the sentence of 35 years for the murder and ordered that the hoe and panga used in the attack be forfeited to the State. Tomas is 28 years old and was 26 when he committed the crime.

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