Jeffrey Barman, who was convicted recently of the “gruesome” murder of his girlfriend and mother of his daughter during a party to celebrate their child’s fourth birthday was sentenced yesterday to an effective 26 years in prison by Judge Christi Liebenberg.
The judge imposed a sentence of 25 years for the murder conviction and three months and one month respectively for two common assault convictions, as well as another year in prison for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. Judge Liebenberg, however, ordered the sentences on the two common assault charges to run concurrently with the sentence on the murder charge.
According to the judge, while Barman proffered an apology in court to the community at large and to the family of the deceased, as well as to his own family, a “completely different picture emerged during cross-examination”. While Barman said he “lamented” the fact that the deceased was no more, he disputed “having been the author of all the misery caused to those near and dear to him, not accepting responsibility for his actions”.
He further said Barman’s claim that this was his first opportunity to apologise to the family of the deceased, completely negates the fact that he was on bail for eight months, during which time he had ample opportunity to approach them if he was “serious and sincere in extending his apologies”.
“His belated apology in court, therefore, appears to be self-serving and only aimed at supporting his own evidence about him being remorseful,” Judge Liebenberg found.
The judge said it seems to him that Barman merely regrets what happened to the deceased and this falls far short from remorse.
He added that Barman’s own testimony showed that he lacks repentance and rather seems saddened by the consequences of what happened on that unfortunate day, and the trouble it landed him in. The crimes committed by Barman all had the element of violence in common, ranging from murder to common assault, Liebenberg said.
While in appropriate circumstances the crime of murder without direct intent – as in the present case – might be mitigating, because it would reduce the moral blameworthiness of an accused, it would depend on the facts of the case. Judge Liebenberg remarked that the court has already found that Barman acted on the “spur of the moment and had little time to rethink his action prior to proceeding to the attack”.
Judge Liebenberg said the fact that Barman consumed liquor on the day could have been a contributing factor to his aggressiveness, especially his behaving like a “raging bull” after the stabbing incident by assaulting anyone who came in his way with complete disregard for the seriousness of the situation and the injuries sustained by the deceased.
Judge Liebenberg said this was clearly a senseless murder, which should never have happened, especially when the courts are issuing stern warnings that sentences will become progressively heavier in an attempt to stop the wave of violence against women and children currently experienced in Namibia.
Barman was convicted of killing 20-year-old Melanie Booysen at a birthday party, which was unfortunately overshadowed by Barman’s unruly behaviour, that sadly ended in him killing the mother of his child in the presence of several children, including his own daughter, who will now have to grow up not only without the loving care of her mother, but also without her father, who will be in jail, Judge Liebenberg said.