21 January 2013

Namibia: Killer's Fate in the Hands of Judge

Windhoek — Alleged girlfriend killer, Pieter Farmer, will hear on March 29 what Judge Nate Ndauendapo has in store for him.

Farmer who has opted not to testify in his own defence already suffered an early setback when Judge Ndauendapo dismissed an application for his acquittal on a Rule 174 discharge in August last year

During arguments on the verdict delivered on Thursday last week, Farmer's defence counsel, Hennie Krüger, asked Judge Ndauendapo to accept Farmer's version of what occurred on that fateful night since only Farmer and the deceased were present at the scene of the crime.

He argued that the State did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his client was not telling the truth. Krüger asked Judge Ndauendapo to take into consideration that while Farmer admitted that it was his weapon that discharged the fatal shot, he denies deliberately firing the firearm, and wholeheartedly believed that the weapon was not loaded.

In a written plea explanation at the start of his trial in July 2011, Farmer claimed that a shot went off accidentally and inexplicably when he handed the firearm to the deceased, Dolleveria McKay, for safekeeping. McKay was farmer's ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child.

State Prosecutor, Ingrid Husselman, argued that enough evidence exists to convict Farmer and asked the court to find him guilty of cold-blooded murder. She argued that Farmer killed McKay because she decided to break up with him. At first glance, Husselman argued, Farmer could not handle the break-up as was testified by various state witnesses and decided that if he couldn't have her nobody else would.

This, she said, was corroborated by evidence that Farmer considered suicide after he murdered McKay. Thirty-six-year-old Farmer pleaded not guilty to counts of murder and possession of a firearm without a licence and ammunition at the start of his trial in July 2011.

Farmer is accused of murdering McKay in the early morning hours of November 12, 2005 at the Krönlein residential area of Keetmanshoop through a shot in the heart with a 7.65 mm calibre pistol. Two state witnesses, who claimed that Farmer told them that he shot the deceased also related to the court that Farmer threatened to shoot himself after he confessed to them about killing the deceased.

Another two witnesses told the court that they were together with the deceased at a popular drinking hole and that when they decided to go home, Farmer followed them demanding to speak to McKay alone. They testified that McKay and Farmer were about ten metres from them talking normally for a couple of minutes after which they started to quarrel.

After a couple more minutes of quarrelling, they heard a shot ring out and saw McKay fall to the ground, both witnesses told the court. They further testified that when they tried to approach the deceased and Farmer, he (Farmer) told them "in a threatening manner to stay away".

Farmer was kept in police custody for about seven months before he was granted bail that was revoked when Judge Ndauendapo dismissed his Rule 174 application. He remains in custody.

In the Rule 174 judgment, Judge Ndauendapo already indicated that he is satisfied that the State has made a prima facie case against Farmer.

According to the judge, the state witnesses could not be referred to as poor quality witnesses and the State produced enough evidence to lead a reasonable court to convict.

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