Convicted rapist Franklin Savage will have to serve at least two thirds of the 37-year sentence Judge Dinah Usiku imposed on him for several rape, assault and attempted murder convictions after she refused him leave to appeal the sentence.
Rehoboth resident Savage was convicted in the Windhoek High Court on November 25 last year of attempting to rape one woman and raping and sodomising another at different dates and of attempted murder for mutilating the vagina of one of his victims.
Judge Uusiku sentenced Savage to seven years on the attempted rape count, 10 years on the attempted murder charge and 15 years each on the two rape counts.
It was, however, ordered that the sentence on the attempted murder conviction run concurrently with one of the rape convictions, thus resulting in an effective 37 years behind bars.
At the time of the sentence the judge noted: “It goes without saying that violent conducts are no longer to be tolerated. As such, the courts are required to impose stiffer punishment for offenders that commit serious crimes such as the present one”.
He appealed the sentence of 37 years, calling it shockingly inappropriate and that the sentence is so excessive that no reasonable man would have imposed it.
He further argued that the court grossly overemphasised the seriousness of the offence at the expense of other more weighty mitigating circumstances. He asked the court to allow the sentences on the separate offences to run concurrently to negate the cumulative effect.
His Legal Aid lawyer, Bronell Uirab, told the court that in comparison with other more serious crimes, such as murder, the sentence imposed on Savage was shockingly inappropriate, as no sexual penetration was observed.
In response the State, represented by Advocate Cliff Lutibezi, argued that compared to other recent judgments in the High Court the judges have expressed their concern over the high number of violent rapes and murders. He argued that 37 years is not improper, as violence was used to compel the victims.
According to Judge Usiku, leave to appeal against a conviction or sentence in the Supreme Court may only be granted by the trial judge if “in the judge’s own opinion an applicant has a reasonable prospect to succeed on appeal.”
In the present case, she said, the appellant failed to satisfy the court that there are reasonable prospects of success on appeal.
During sentencing Judge Usiku said the court is mindful of the fact that the accused should not be sacrificed on the altar of deterrence, simply because of the prevalence of these types of crimes and ultimately it is the accused persons in their unique circumstances who must each be punished.
“With the sentence this court is about to impose, a message must be sent out that punishment for these types of violent crimes against women and children that has continued to escalate in this country would become progressively heavier until the tide is turned, and the battle against these crimes is won,” Judge Usiku concluded.