High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg last Friday sentenced Otjimbingwe resident, Kaxui Katjivi, 32, who was convicted of murder with direct intent, to thirty-five years behind bars.
Judge Liebenberg convicted Katjivi for the murder by multiple stabbing of Dina Anton with a knife at Otjinene in the Gobabis District on July 31, 2014, and said the murder was committed to prevent the now deceased woman from leaving Katjivi.
He was further sentenced to one year on a conviction of assault to do grievous bodily harm and cautioned on a conviction of assault. The sentence on the charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm was ordered to run concurrently with the murder sentence.
Katjivi was also convicted on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and a further count of assault for attempting to stab Alfeus Katai Haurumbu, who tried to come to the aid of Anton, and for pushing Eises out of his house, causing her minor injuries.
According to the judge, while Katjivi did apologise to the family of the deceased he found it insincere as it was “exactly because of the family’s alleged interference into his personal life that made him reach the point where it would be better for him to end it all by killing the deceased”. For remorse to be a valid consideration at the stage of sentencing, the judge said, it has to be sincere, something he found absent in the present instance.
While Katjivi was a candidate for reform, the aggravating circumstances of the murder made it inevitable that a lengthy custodial sentence would be imposed, making the rehabilitation as an objective of punishment, a lesser consideration which would have to take place in prison, the judge remarked.
He said he did not agree with the defence counsel’s submission that Katjivi’s lack of formal education, and he being an unsophisticated person, were mitigating factors to be taken into consideration. According to the judge the mere fact that a person is unsophisticated does not place him in a different category of persons when it comes to sentencing, unless it was established by way of evidence that his lack of education or sophistication directly impacted on his capability to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions and/or to act in accordance with such appreciation.
“It was argued that had the accused fully and timeously appreciated the consequences of his actions, he would never have committed the murder,” the judge observed, and continued: “This argument clearly loses sight of the accused’s evidence that, prior to committing the offence, he appreciated that his actions will land him in jail but, notwithstanding, he acted in accordance with that knowledge.”
Accordingly, the judge said, he was unable to find that the accused’s moral blameworthiness had been diminished at the time of committing the offence due to his background.
Judge Liebenberg said that during his testimony in mitigation Katjivi had said he regretted his actions and should rather have left the house. Not only did he rob his children of their mother, but also alienated them from him, the judge said.
“He undoubtedly has to live with a constant sense of guilt for what he has done to his children. Unfortunately this is an inevitable consequence of crime and something the court can regard as a mitigating factor,” the judge stressed prior to sending Katjivi to a 35-year jail term.
On the charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm the judge said he took notice of the fact that the complainant did not suffer any harm as he managed to jump out of the way.
But, the judge said, Katjivi manifested his intent in a serious respect. This clearly shows that Katjivi would not be stopped at what he had set his mind to and acted with complete disregard for the life and rights of others.
According to Judge Liebenberg the reasons Katjivi gave for killing the deceased are disquieting.
The sole reason he gave for the killing was that he became tired of the situation of him being accused of mistreating the deceased. “To him the only way out and to make an end to this hopeless situation was to kill her. It was a calculated decision, the consequences of which he fully appreciated at the time,” the judge said.
According to Judge Liebenberg, the accused knew he would not escape justice and it was for that reason he went to the police to hand himself over. He said the fact that the deceased made her intentions to leave Katjivi clear on that day clearly had a direct impact on his decision to kill her.