Judge Dinah Uusiku on Wednesday told murder accused Charles Noabeb, 28, she will deliver judgement on the charges he faces on March 3, 2016 after his State-funded counsel Milton Engelbrecht and State Advocate Simba Nduna finished their arguments on the verdict.
Noabeb is accused of the brutal rape and murder of Cintha Robertha Gaeses near Kolin Foundation Secondary School between the period of March 28 to April 3, 2013 at the mining town of Arandis.
It is alleged that Noabeb attacked the deceased and stabbed and/or cut her at least 29 times with a knife and/or blade all over her body, where he encountered her on her way home from visiting a nightclub. Her body was found after six days under a pile of rubble by pupils at the Kolin Foundation Secondary School.
Noabeb denied all the charges when he pleaded to the charges on May 5. However, a confession he made earlier, a warning statement, and pointing out of the scene were declared admissible as evidence in court after a lengthy trial-within-a-trial.
Similarly, an open letter of apology he wrote to the family of the deceased and the community of Arandis at large, in which he asked for forgiveness and claims that he never expected to be capable of something so “evil” was declared admissible by the judge.
Nduna argued that the admissions are proof enough that Noabeb committed the murder and went on to say that his presence at the murder scene was further established by DNA analysis.
On the charge of rape Nduna conceded that the State failed to prove the allegation, as the rape kit analysis was inconclusive. On the third count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, he said that the State proved that the accused used force on the deceased and that her cellphone was taken by force.
Regarding the charge of obstructing the course of justice he said that the accused admitted in his confession that he took the body of the deceased from the place she died to a secluded spot, where he covered the body with rubbish to prevent the body from being detected.
In the end, Nduna said, the State proved all the allegations – save for the rape charge against the accused – and asked the court to convict him on those charges.
Engelbrecht argued that the onus of proof beyond a reasonable doubt lies squarely with the State and that an accused must only show that his version is reasonably possibly true. He told the court that apart from the admissions contained in the confession and warning statement, the State did not prove any of the allegations against Noabeb.
He further said that the ruling on the admissibility of the statements can be reviewed at the end of a trial by the judge and reversed if justified. According to Engelbrecht the State’s case is based on the statements, as there is no direct evidence the accused murdered the deceased.
He further said that a court can draw an inference of guilt at the end of a trial only if it has excluded all other inferences. He said that if it cannot exclude all other inferences, then there must be doubt whether the inference drawn is the correct one.
And where there is doubt, Engelbrect said, it must be to the benefit of the accused.