A bail appeal lodged by Keetmanshoop shebeen owner Matias ‘Chi-Chi’ Shikongo, who faces a charge of murder for hacking a customer to death with a panga in Keetmanshoop was dismissed on Friday by Judge Alfred Siboleka in the High Court.
Judge Siboleka said he sees no reason to interfere with the decision of the magistrate who refused bail. “It is therefore my considered view that the magistrate did not misdirect himself when he refused to release the appellant on bail,” the judge remarked.
Chi-Chi brought a second bail application in the Keetmanshoop Magistrate’s Court on supposed new facts, which Judge Siboleka said was non-existent. He said the accused’s claim that he faces economic hardship due to his continued incarceration, which resulted in his business being burgled and becoming dysfunctional, is entirely of his own making and directly flows from his own conduct and justice taking its course.
Chi-Chi is in custody for the murder of a customer at his shebeen in Keetmanshoop’s Noordhoek suburb and for letting his dogs bite the deceased, Deon Katuuo, 26. Judge Siboleka pointed out that murder in itself is a very serious offence.
“More so when regard is had to the manner and the distance the appellant had chased after the deceased with his dogs until he caught up with him. The dogs put the deceased down and were attacking him. In that process the appellant started chopping him with a panga several times on the head, the judge said,adding that: “These circumstances are in my considered view abhorrent and barbaric/”
Judge Siboleka further said while it is common practice for any person to have dogs on their premises as protection from burglars, once they are directly used and deliberately set on people as the appellant testified he does, then it becomes the court’s duty to see to it the conduct stops.
Chi-Chi testified in his bail appeal that he used the dogs to stop fights at his bar and control his patrons. He is facing several further charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm for instances where his dogs bit people at his bar.
Chi-Chi has earlier testified that the deceased and another man came to his bar on the night in question. One of them urinated on the wall of the business, and when asked why, said he was a new person who did not know where the toilets were located. A fight started and the deceased hit him with the fist on the mouth, resulting in him losing a tooth.
The deceased also hit him with a bottle under the right eye, Chi-Chi told the court. He said he asked the two men to leave the premises, but they refused and only left when the police arrived. However, the accused said, they later returned armed with knives, but he managed to disarm the deceased, but not before the deceased allegedly managed to stab him in the arm.
According to Chi-Chi, he chopped the deceased three times with the panga on the left side of his head out of fear for his life and the deceased then ran away. He gave chased with his two dogs and a panga and when his dogs brought down the deceased, he chopped him with the panga several times more.
Police investigating officer Paulus Klemens Appollus testified that the accused continued chopping the deceased with the panga at the same time that his dogs were biting the deceased. The post mortem report shows that the deceased died as a result of multiple head injuries that include open skull fractures, with subdural bleeding.
The judge noted that the deceased must have realised his life was in danger, which is why he ran away over such a long distance. He said there was no danger to the life of the accused bar owner as he chased the deceased 250 metres, while leaving his shebeen unattended.