WINDHOEK – Rape and murder convict Jacob Simon failed in his attempt to have his 43-year sentence received in the High Court in Oshakati reduced.
Simon who was only 22 years old when he brutally raped and killed his 17-year-old victim argued through his defence counsel that the sentences imposed on both counts were too harsh and induced a sense of shock. Simon was sentenced to 18 years on the rape conviction and 35 years on the murder conviction.
Ten years of the rape sentence was ordered to run concurrently with the murder sentence effectively putting him behind bars for 43 years.
Defence counsel Grace Mugaviri who appeared for Simon further argued that the trial court misdirected itself by giving insufficient weight to the personal circumstances of Simon, being a first offender, that he assisted with the investigation and pleaded guilty. She further said that the court gave no weight to the remorse as stated in his plea explanation to the court. In the plea explanation Simon stated that he apologised to the family of the deceased and society in general.
“Unfortunately the applicant did not take the court into his confidence and testify about the remorse he now claims to have and in absence thereof, it was found that little weight could be given to penitence alleged to exist,” Judge Christi Liebenberg ruled. He said the personal circumstances of Simon were summarised and considered in the original judgment – also delivered by him – and the court was mindful of Simon being a first offender and his relatively young age.
“Mitigating factors were summarised, discussed and considered in the judgment,” the judge emphasised. Judge Liebenberg further stated that the determination whether or not substantial evidence and circumstances were present was thoroughly dealt with.
“The circumstances under which the rape was perpetuated justified the imposition of a sentence in excess of the prescribed minimum,” Judge Liebenberg further stated.
The victim was a 17-year-old girl doing her chores around the house when Simon pounced on her, said the judge.
After the girl wore off his advances and even tried to run away he chased her and grabbed her by the hair, forcing her to the ground, according to the judgment.
“He used a panga he had with him to cut her panty from her body whereafter he had sexual intercourse,” the judge said.
Simon then decided to kill the defenceless girl when she informed him that she would report him to the police.
“The panga was used in the commission of both offences, a factor considered to be aggravating,” Judge Liebenberg stressed. According to the judgment the “blatant manner in which the applicant went about to satisfy his sexual desires cannot simply be ignored”.
Judge Liebenberg said Simon clearly used the panga he had with him to achieve this aim and remained silent as to why he had the panga on him in the first instance.
“The court expressed its concern about the vulnerability of young children and with what ease their constitutional rights are trampled on.”
According to the judge the attack on the deceased was merciless, vicious and fierce as could be adduced by the severity of the 17 blows directed at the body and head of the deceased.
Judge Liebenberg said in view of the recent spate of murders currently being committed against women which disturbs the peace and harmony in society, offenders must be given sentences that satisfy the requirements of justice, reflect the disapproval of the court and that of society or else members of society will lose confidence in the justice system and decide to take the law into their own hands.
Judge Liebenberg concluded in his view the sentences imposed were not shockingly inappropriate and that a court of appeal would not come to a different conclusion.
By Roland Routh