21 April 2017

Namibia: Murder Gets Constable 25 Years in Prison

THE murder that Namibian Police constable Justin Munsu Simataa committed when he shot a young man in a car outside a Windhoek bar has now left him with an effective prison term of 25 years.

Simataa (31) heard in the Windhoek High Court yesterday that he was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment, of which five years were suspended for a period of five years, on the murder charge on which he has been convicted.

Judge Nate Ndauendapo also sentenced him to 15 years' imprisonment on a count of attempted murder, two years in jail for malicious damage to property, and one year in prison for discharging a rearm in a public place.

All of the other sentences would be served concurrently with the sentence on the murder charge, judge Ndauendapo ordered.

He further ordered that the pistol with which Simataa fired the shots that claimed the life of the 25-year-old Fabrice Mael in the early morning hours of 26 October 2012 would be forfeited to the state, and declared Simataa un t to possess a rearm for 20 years after he has served his prison term.

Mael died after Simataa had shot him eight times where he sat in the driver's seat of his car outside a bar in Khomasdal, Windhoek. A friend of Mael who was also sitting in the car sustained life-threatening injuries when he was struck by ve bullets, but survived the shooting.

Simataa red the shots after he, Mael and friends of Mael had been involved in an altercation that escalated to a point where Simataa was assaulted outside the bar. The fight was over and Mael and his friends were in his car, in- tending to leave the scene, when Simataa approached the car with his pistol and emptied the gun's maga- zine on the vehicle.

Simataa claimed during his trial that he was acting in self-defence when he red the shots, but judge Ndauendapo rejected that defence when he delivered his verdict three weeks ago.

The judge remarked during the sentencing yesterday: "The deceased, who was in the prime of his life, was brutally murdered with a semi-automatic gun whilst seated in the motor vehicle. He had no chance to survive the barrage from the bullets coming from the semi-automatic gun. It was a life cut short un- necessarily at the hand of the accused."

Judge Ndauendapo also noted that Simataa had been provoked when he was assaulted. While that provocation was regarded as a mitigating factor as the crimes that followed were committed impulsively and were not premeditated, Simataa's uncontrolled conduct could not be condoned, the judge said.

He further said he was mindful of the fact that people in any society on a daily basis encountered situations in which they were angered, humiliated or provoked - but they had to control their emotions without yielding to the urge of taking the law into their own hands.

Mael was a student and a first-time father-to-be at the time of his death, the court was informed. Simataa, who tendered an apology to Mael's mother after he was found guilty, also told the court he was the father of a nine-year-old son who was living with him before he was found guilty. He served in the police for seven years, Simataa said.

Defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji handled Simataa's defence during his trial. State advocate Constance Moyo prosecuted.

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