A Windhoek resident who shot and killed a member of the Women and Men Network Against Crime volunteer organisation at a Kasi party in Okuryangava in 2013 was on Friday convicted of murder with direct intent by Magistrate Sarel Jacobs in the Windhoek Regional Court in Katutura.
Jackson Absalom Panduleni, 29, was charged with the murder of Tobias Abisai, 33, after he shot the deceased once in the chest at close range at a party at Stop and Shop in Okuryangava on February 9, 2013. He was also charged with the offence of defeating or obstructing, or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice on which he was acquitted and discharged.
Panduleni pleaded not guilty to both counts at the start of his trial and said he acted in self-defence when he shot the deceased.
In his evidence-in-chief, Panduleni said he and some friends were at the Stop and Shop attending a party, and when they decided to leave he realised his phone was missing from his pocket.
He then approached some people and during an altercation his phone fell to the ground. After he picked up the cellphone, the persons who had it wanted to break bottles they had in their hands on the road. One of his friends then came to stand in between him and the persons and was hit in the face with a bottle. He then fired a warning shot in the air with his pistol while the persons were coming at him with bottles. He said he walked to the entrance with the firearm in his hand and was then grabbed from behind and pummelled several times with a fist in his face.
He fired another warning shot to frighten the person who hit him. The members of the Women and Men Network then grabbed his arm and took his firearm.
According to Magistrate Jacobs, he found the accused’s version to be false and totally contradicted by the evidence of state witnesses that corroborated each other. Although there are contradictions in the evidence of state witnesses, these did not render their evidence unreliable.
“Considering all the evidence the court is satisfied that the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused shot the deceased in the circumstances as testified by the state witnesses. The court rejects accused’s version that he acted in self-defence,” the magistrate ruled.
On the question of intention, the magistrate said before intention can exist there has to be a subjective intention to commit the crime. “The accused bore the onus of proving the absence of mens rea (intent) on a balance of probabilities,” he said.
According to Magistrate Jacobs, the state is seldom able to offer direct evidence of the accused’s state of mind at the time of committing the offence and the court must therefore rely on inferences to be drawn from the circumstances of the offence, the weapon used and the nature and extent of the injuries inflicted.
“The accused shot the undefended deceased for no reason in his chest with a firearm,” the magistrate found. He said the only inference that can be drawn from the facts is that when the accused shot the deceased, he did so with the intention to kill.
Panduleni was represented by Afrika Jantjies and Seredine Jacobs prosecuted. His bail was cancelled and he was remanded in custody at the Katutura Police Station.