Verdict in Bahnhoff murder set for September

by Roland Routh

Verdict in Bahnhoff murder set for September

Windhoek

Judgment in the trial of a man accused of bludgeoning his lover to death with an unknown object at Bahnhoff Station will be delivered on September 14.

This was indicated on Tuesday by Judge Nate Ndauendapo after he heard submissions on the verdict to be delivered.
Paulus Ruben, 49, pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder, read with the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, at the start of his trial in August last year.



The State alleges Ruben killed his lover of five months, Magritha Beukes, during the night of January 3, 2012 with an unknown object and ran away.

The deceased was discovered the next morning in her bed. She had died of subarachnoid haemorrhage – an uncommon type of stroke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain – due to blunt force trauma.

Ruben was arrested nine days later at a farm near Rehoboth, where he was employed.
State Advocate Ethel Ndlovu conceded yesterday during submissions that the State’s case rests on circumstantial evidence, as no one saw the person that assaulted the deceased causing the injuries that led to her death.

However, she said, the State produced comprehensive evidence, proving beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was the one who assaulted and killed the deceased.

She said evidence was provided that the accused was at the house of the deceased until at least 21h00 on the night of January 3, the night before the deceased was discovered dead in their bed.

“There were no footprints or anything showing that anyone else had come to their sleeping room between that time and the discovery of the body,” and the only footprints found were similar to those on the shoes the accused wore,” Ndlovu stated.

According to her, the circumstances of the case are such that when each piece of evidence is put in its place every other reasonable inference is excluded, leaving only the conclusion that the deceased was assaulted by the accused, resulting in her death.

She said the State is required to prove the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt and indeed beyond a shadow of a doubt.
In this instance, Ndlovu argued, the cumulative impression of all the evidence adduced against the accused is overwhelming and proves he is the one that bludgeoned the victim to death. She asked for a conviction, as charged.

Hipura Ujaha, who appears on behalf of the accused on instructions of legal aid, said the accused tendered an alibi defence by stating that he was not at the house when the offence was committed.

According to Ujaha, the State bears the onus of proof to place the accused at the scene, but failed to do so.
“In casu (presently) there is no direct evidence to implicate the accused and to show to the court that the accused is the one who committed the said offence. The State only relies on evidence adduced by witnesses, who did not see or observe the accused committing the crime” Ujaha stated.

He further said the evidence that the shoeprints belong to the accused is not reliable, because no comparisons were made and an expert was not called to prove that the footprints belong to the accused.

Ujaha was adamant the police officers failed in their investigations, as no forensic analysis was done to at least link the accused to the crime scene.

“The question is whether the accused was placed at the scene and whether the accused had intention to kill,” Ujaha told the court.

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