12 November 2012

Namibia: Woman Free On Murder Charge After Appeal

A WINDHOEK resident who was sent to prison earlier this year for an effective 12 years over the murder of her abusive former boyfriend had her sentence reduced to a wholly-suspended jail term in the High Court in Windhoek on Friday.

Fiona Kinda’s stint in prison came to an end when High Court Judges Kato van Niekerk and Shafimana Ueitele upheld her appeal against her conviction and sentence. The two judges ruled on Friday that her conviction on a charge of murder would be changed to a guilty verdict on culpable homicide. They also slashed her effective prison term of twelve years to a sentence of five years’ imprisonment, suspended in its entirety for a period of five years on condition that she is not found guilty of culpable homicide committed during the period of suspension.

Kinda broke out in songs of praise and prayer when she heard the outcome of her appeal.

She spent close to nine months in jail following her conviction in the Windhoek Regional Court in February.

Kinda (31) was accused of murdering her former partner, Charles Henry Baisako (30), in Katutura in Windhoek on June 15 2008.

Baisako died from a stab wound to his heart.

Kinda admitted that she had stabbed Baisako, but claimed she did not intend to kill him.

At the start of her trial, she offered to plead guilty to a charge of culpable homicide, and explained that when she stabbed Baisako she only wanted to scare him away from her house. However, she claimed that she misjudged herself and stabbed him in the chest, with fatal results. Kinda admitted that she had caused his death through negligence on her part.

The trial court heard that Kinda, who was working as a cleaner with a cellphone company at the time of the incident and Baisako had been involved in a relationship for nine years, and had one child together. During these years, Baisako assaulted Kinda on several occasions, she said, and she finally had him arrested for assault.

She also obtained a domestic violence protection order against him, the court heard. Despite this order, he again visited her house on the day of the incident, and an argument erupted between the two of them.

Baisako was taken out of the house and a security door was closed to keep him outside. However, Kinda then went to fetch a knife and returned to where Baisako was, the court heard.

She then stabbed him through an opening in the security door.

The trial magistrate found that Kinda had not been in danger at the time of the stabbing, and that she did not have a reason to stab Baisako when she did so. She found that Kinda had intentionally killed Baisako.

On appeal, the two High Court judges have found that she caused his death negligently, rather than intentionally.

The judgesÂ’ full reasons for their decision was not yet available on Friday.

Defence lawyer Sisa Namandje represented Kinda in the appeal. State advocate Palmer Kumalo appeared for the prosecution.

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