Otjimbingwe resident Siegfried Uirab who admitted he killed his mother with an axe at her residence in Otjimbingwe is guilty of murder with direct intent, albeit with diminished criminal responsibility.
This was said by Judge Christi Liebenberg on Wednesday in the Windhoek High Court where Uirab has been on trial on charges of murder, attempted murder and assault by threat, for the past six months.
The judge however found Uirab not guilty on the charge of attempted murder, but convicted him on the lesser charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and assault by threat.
He was charged with killing his mother, Erika Uiras, by hitting her at least four times with an axe on her head on November 21, 2013 at Otjimbingwe in the Karibib district, causing her to die two days later on November 23, 2013 at Katutura hospital in Windhoek.
In addition to the murder charge he was accused of attempted murder for allegedly hitting his sister, Lena Uiras, at least once on the head, and that he threatened to assault another family member, Lizette Uiras, with the same axe. While he admitted causing the death of the deceased, he denied intent as he claimed he was engulfed by a spirit at the time of the offence.
Uirab was sent for psychiatric observation twice and both times was declared fit to stand trial, although the second time the psychiatrist said he had diminished criminal liability because of a history of substance abuse, especially alcohol and cannabis.
According to Judge Liebenberg, while Uirab admitted the unlawful killing of the deceased, the court had to determine whether he had the criminal capacity when he committed the act.
State witnesses, who are family members of the accused and have no ulterior motives to falsely implicate him, corroborated each other in all material aspects and were credible witnesses, while the accused, the judge said, “despite his ability to give a detailed account of what happened, is notably tainted with his own delusional beliefs, largely rendering him an unreliable witness.”
The judge said despite Uirab’s contention that he had no intention to kill the deceased, regard must be had to the circumstances prevailing at the time of the assault and the nature and extent thereof.
“By looking at these factors the court may infer the accused’s intention at the relevant time from evidence relating to his outward conduct, also referred to as indirect proof of intention.”
One objective factor to consider, the judge said, is that an axe was used, which in itself, is a lethal weapon when used against a fellow human being. The blows were directed at the victim’s head, which resulted in her death from four chop wounds, he said.
“The nature of these injuries is such that it would have required substantial force to inflict, which is another factor to be taken into account.”
When regard is had to circumstances mentioned, the judge stated, “I am satisfied that the accused in respect of the murder count subjectively intended to bring about the death of the deceased, albeit with diminished criminal responsibility.”
On the count of assault, the judge said, he was not satisfied that the state proved Uirab intended to kill the victim, but rather to cause her grievous bodily harm.
The trial has been remanded to October 17 for sentencing proceedings to start.
Uirab was represented by Titus Ipumbu and the state by Deputy Prosecutor General Antonia Verhoef.