Judge Christi Liebenberg on Monday said he will be ready to sentence the man recently convicted of killing his own mother with an axe in Otjimbingwe in November 2013.
The judge at the beginning of October found Siegfried Uirab – who admitted killing his mother with an axe at her residence in Otjimbingwe – guilty of murder with direct intent in the Windhoek High Court, albeit with diminished criminal responsibility.
He was also convicted of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH), as well as assault common.
Uirab previously underwent two mental observations that declared him fit to stand trial, as he understands court proceedings and can differentiate between right and wrong. But, it was declared in the mental report, because of extended abuse of alcohol and cannabis, he had “diminished capacity”.
He was sent for a second round of mental observation when he said in testimony in his defence that he was “engulfed” by spirits when he struck his mother with the axe.
During submissions on the sentence Titus Ipumbu, who represents Uirab on instructions of the Legal Aid department, said a sentence of 18 years for the murder, 18 months for the assault GBH and six months for the common assault convictions would be appropriate in the circumstances. He also asked that the sentences be ordered to run concurrently.
According to Ipumbu, his client was convicted with diminished capacity, which decreases his moral blameworthiness. He said Uirab was only 22 years old at the time, which classifies him as a youthful offender. He thus asked the court to show leniency to his client and give him a chance to rehabilitate and become a productive citizen.
Deputy Prosecutor General Antonia Verhoef would have none of that. According to her, Uirab is a danger to society who should be removed for a long time. She said an 18-year jail term would be a travesty of justice. In the current circumstances 18 years will not be sufficient to satisfy the interest of society and of justice, she argued.
While she left the sentence on the murder charge in the hands of the court, she recommended a sentence of five years for the assault GBH and one year for the assault common.
Verhoef said in her submissions that Uirab would be able to get help for his mental condition while in prison.
He was convicted of killing his mother, Erika Uiras, by hitting her at least four times with an axe on her head in November 2013 at Otjimbingwe in the Karibib district, causing her to die two days later on November 23, 2013 at Katutura Hospital in Windhoek.
He was further convicted of assault GBH, instead of attempted murder for hitting his sister, Lena Uiras, at least once on the head and for threatening to assault another family member, Lizette Uiras, with the same axe.