WINDHOEK – “While it is normally women who suffer assaults at the hands of men, when the situation is reversed, men need protection from the courts too.”
This was said on Friday by State prosecutor, Samantha Diergaardt, when she argued in aggravation of sentence in a case of assault with intent to do grievious bodily harm.
Patricia April who told the court that she is a 26- year-old single mother who also looks after her aged parents pleaded guilty before Magistrate Justine Asino at her eleventh court appearance.
The complainant in the matter previously tried to withdraw the case, but the State refused to accept the withdrawal. April pleaded guilty to throwing a glass in the face of Nico Christiaan, thereby causing a wound on his face on January 19 last year.
She was granted bail of N$1 000 during her first court appearance on January 23 last year. After repeated postponements and failing to secure state-funded legal representation, she finally decided that she had enough and pleaded guilty to the charge.
During the trial the complainant was called to testify and he informed the court that April apologised to him one day after the incident and that he accepted her apology. He said she even called him after the incident to enquire as to how he was feeling and if there was anything she could do to assist him. He requested Asino to forgive her.
April who testified under oath during mitigation said that she earned a salary of N$2 400 per month and could afford a fine of N$2 000.
But Diergaardt told the court that April has been convicted of a very serious offence. “The accused took a conscious decision to assault the complainant because he allegedly called her ‘stuck up’,” she said. She said April did not show any concern what injuries the complainant might sustain.
This showed a total lack of respect for the complainant’s life, she said, adding that it was by mere chance that the complainant did not lose an eye. She told the court that society expects protection from the courts, whether they be men or women and recommended a fine of N$8 000 or eight months in jail.
In sentencing, Asino told April that while the complainant told the court that he forgave her, the court could not condone her actions.
She told April that throwing the glass at a fragile part of the body was not necessary and indeed reckless.
Asino then sentenced April to pay a fine of N$3 000 or face 12 months in jail. She paid the fine.
By Roland Routh