By William J. Mbangula OSHAKATI Judge President Petrus Damaseb last Friday gave a 60-year jail sentence to Joseph Hakoonde Ngoya, 34, who was convicted of murder after it emerged in court that he decapitated his victim and displayed his head to fellow villagers. The victim paid the ultimate price following an adulterous affair with Ngoya’s wife. The suspect faced charges of murder and violation of a dead body when he shocked fellow villagers on September 3, 2005 after killing Elias Kahandja Shoombe, 57. According to the evidence presented in court, the alleged relationship between Shoombe and Ngoya’s wife occurred in 2003 and the deceased through the arbitration of the traditional authority compensated Ngoya. He was paid N$600, a cow and a donkey. On that fateful day at the village of Ongumi, east of Okongo in the jurisdiction of Eenhana district, the duo met in the bush whereupon Ngoya attacked Shoombe with a panga until he overpowered him. Shoombe was killed on the spot and Ngoya cut off his head and took it to the cucashops where he reportedly showed it to the people and asked them whether they knew the deceased. Pleading in mitigation, Ngoya said he was unemployed, a father of one child, his parents are very old and blind and need his support, that he has been in custody for eight months having left other five children of his deceased relatives without anyone to look after them. After the incident last year, Ngoya told the court that he bought the coffin and paid a beast for the funeral. Again last month his family paid 12 head of cattle as compensation to the family of the deceased. Defence Counsel Bradley Basson of Olivier Law Firm admitted that the incident was a serious one and no amount of cattle could compensate for the loss of life. He suggested that the court sentence him to less than 20 years in jail. Appearing for the State, Sandra Muller told the court that the crime committed by Ngoya was a horrendous intentional murder, which the accused was proud of. He displayed the lifeless head of his victim to the local community. It shows, Muller noted, how he was proud of his brute ego for an act of barbarism in a civilised society. Before the incident, the prosecutor noted, Ngoya had mentioned to the wife of the deceased that either him or Shoombe would die if they met. Muller asked the court to impose a jail sentence of no less than 45 years. Passing judgment, Judge Damaseb took into consideration Ngoya’s personal situation but quickly pointed out that it cannot override the seriousness of the crime which will go down in the annals of the Namibian criminal history as a “foul and heinous” offence. “It is clear to the court that you sought to kill the deceased. You have been looking for his head and you managed to get it. Such conduct cannot be tolerated in a civilised society. As a result the court will fail in its duty if it does not protect the society from likeminded people. It wants to send a clear message to all and sundry that such actions cannot be condoned,” said the Judge President. He added that decapitating a human being shows utter contempt of the dead, which also offended all sensible people in the society. Ngoya is a serious danger to the society and retribution is the only answer to what the Judge President described as a barbaric criminal act. As a result, the High Court was left with no choice but to send him to sit in jail for 60 years. More than 15 witnesses were called to testify in this case, including the wife of the deceased, Lovisa Reinhold, who exposed the alleged illicit love affair between Shoombe and Ngoya’s wife. In another murder case, Thomas Hadibo, a 34-year-old former constable in the Namibian Police was given a five-year suspended sentenced for murdering Nicodemus Velishavo Ndatewapo by stabbing him in the chest and abdomen at Okakwa village on September 28, 2004. He also faced a charge of attempted murder for stabbing Julia Kambekele on the head and hand on the same day. Judge Damaseb noted in his judgment that he had considered many factors before arriving at the conclusion of the matter. The fact that Hadibo was a first offender, that he was extremely provoked before the incident, the report of a clinical psychologist that his state of mind is below average, and that he has shown remorse for the crimes committed served as mitigating factors. He, therefore, sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment wholly suspended for five years on condition that he is going to do 2 060 hours of community service at Eenhana hospital, where he will be under the supervision of health officials and that he should not commit similar offences during the said period. The community work by Hadibo will start today, for eight hours a day. In Judge Damaseb’s view, effectively jailing Hadibo would not help him but will rather contribute to the deterioration of his state of mind, which has already been found wanting. As a result he has placed him under the care of Matron Helen Mningeni who is in charge of Eenhana hospital. Hadibo’s presence at Eenhana hospital will also be reported to the social worker in Ohangwena region Josephine Nghishililwa by copy of the judgment. With regard to the responsibility of the matron at Eenhana hospital she will assign various duties to Hadibo including cleaning inside and outside the hospital premises or rendering any other assistance. The matron will then submit detailed monthly reports to the Registrar of the High court, of which a copy should be submitted to the Station Commander of the Namibian Police at Eenhana. Bradley Basson of Olivier Law Firm, instructed by the Directorate of Legal Aid, defended both Hadibo and Ngoya. Sandra Muller prosecuted in both cases. The High court had a month-long session in Oshakati, which started on April 18 and wrapped up its business on Friday, May 12. Altogether 13 murder cases and three rape cases were finalised.
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