30 January 2013

Namibia: Incestuous Father's Sentence to Be Revisited

Windhoek — The man convicted of assaulting and raping his daughter could face a stiffer sentence if the State's appeal against his sentence in the Windhoek High Court succeeds in the Supreme Court.

Judge Nate Ndauendapo sentenced the man, who may not be identified to protect the identity of his victim, to a 14-year jail term. The State is however not satisfied with the sentence and has lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court, for it to decide whether or not the sentence is appropriate and commensurate with the crime.

The State bases its appeal application on the presumption that the judge erred when he found that the 11 months the accused spent in custody while the trial was on constitutes substantial and compelling circumstances that justified a departure from the mandatory minimum sentences prescribed by the Combating of Rape Act.

The State also argues that Judge Ndauendapo determined the existence of substantial and compelling circumstances based on the circumstances of the accused at the exclusion of all other factors normally taken into account in sentencing and that the judge departed from the mandatory prescribed minimum sentences of the Combating of Rape Act for flimsy reasons that do not stand scrutiny.

The State is also not pleased that the judge ordered the sentence of one-year imprisonment imposed in respect of the assault charge to run concurrently with the sentence on the charge of rape. Hence, the State argues, the High Court imposed a sentence that is shockingly lenient when the circumstances of the accused are weighed against the circumstances of the offence, as well as the interests of society.

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