Namibia: Convicted City Cops Want to Appeal Conviction

1 December 2020

Three Windhoek City Police officers who were convicted in the murder of Mandela Ramakhutla in April 2013 want to appeal their ten-year jail term.

The four were convicted and sentenced by Windhoek High Court Judge Dinnah Usiku and now want leave to appeal their conviction in the Supreme Court.

At the same time, the State through the office of the prosecutor general wants the judge to grant them leave to appeal the 10-year sentence.

According to Sisa Namandje who appears for the cops on instructions of Kadhila Amoomo, the judge was wrong when she concluded the police officers were responsible for the death of the youngster.

He said that the evidence did not prove that his clients assaulted the deceased, as there was no eyewitness testimony to that effect.

Judge Usiku sentenced Werner Johannes Shetekela (36), Kleopas Shiikalepo Kapalanga (33) and Elia Nakale (39) to 14 years behind bars on the murder conviction and 12 months on the defeating the course of justice conviction.

She, however, ordered that four years of the murder sentence be suspended for five years on condition that the convicts are not convicted of the crime of murder during the period of suspension.

The judge also ordered that the sentence on the defeating conviction runs concurrently with the murder sentence.

The charges emanated from an assault the officers perpetrated on Ramakhutla while he was in their custody during the evening of 16 April 2013 after they picked him up on suspicion of having stolen a laptop at the City of Windhoek head office.

They apparently saw him on a CCTV dawdling in the office building during that day.

They were, however, acquitted on a charge of kidnapping.

Judge Usiku indicated that she will give her ruling on the appeal applications on 9 December.

During the conviction judgement, Usiku made reference to the fact that the three cops hurriedly left the Windhoek Police Station after they dumped him there to hide the fact that they assaulted him.

She said the conduct to dump a seriously injured minor suspect, at the police station, instead of taking him for immediate medical attention, calls for a custodial sentence.

"Their conduct can only be described as grossly inhumane," she declared.

She further said that it would be a travesty of justice if the accused persons, who have some fine credentials, should escape incarceration for that reason only.

According to Usiku, the accused did not show any remorse in this matter.

Instead, she said, all of them candidly denied killing the deceased and each was more concerned about their wellbeing and that of their dependents that the death of the deceased became secondary.

She further said while the killing of the deceased was not premeditated in that the accused did not set out hunting for the deceased in order to kill him, they are nonetheless guilty of a serious crime and justice demands that they must pay for their evil deed.

Shetekela was represented by Boris Isaacks, Kapalanga by Willem Visser and Nakale by Amoomo during the original trial and the State by Cliff Lutibezi.

- rrouth@nepc.com.na

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