Windhoek-Kai Rust a farmer who has been standing trial for a shooting incident that resulted in the death of a suspected poacher on his father’s farm in 2016 will receive judgement in his case today.
Magistrate Alexis Diergaardt is expected to deliver judgment in the matter after the case was postponed on January 22 to be heard today. Rust, 44, who is out on bail has been on trial facing a count of murder and three counts of attempted murder. All charges emanate from the shooting incident that occurred on a farm north-east of Okahandja on January 27, 2016.
The prosecution alleges Rust intentionally killed 41-year-old Andreas Ukandanga when he fired shots on the date in question. Ukandanga died on the scene from a penetrating wound, which resulted from a diverted gunshot.
In May last year Rust denied guilt on all of the charges citing that he never intended to harm nor kill anyone when he fired those shots on that date in question. Rust’s case was transferred from Okahandja to Windhoek with the defence team citing that the case had allegedly been fueled with major irregularities such as the prosecution misrepresenting facts to the magistrate.
In his defence Rust, allegedly fired in order to scare off one of the hunting dogs, after which the bullet ricocheted and hit Ukandanga, accidentally killing him. In the written submissions, Rust’s defence attorney Jan Wessels said that Rust acted in a manner that any reasonable man in the circumstances would have acted. “We are working with a reasonable man and not Superman,” narrated Wessels.
According to Wessels, Ukandanga and his friends were intruders who committed a criminal offence furthermore, Rust did not see anyone behind the rock when he fired the shots.
Ndara Ndjamba, one of the suspected poachers informed the court through his testimony that on the date in question they were on Rust’s farm hunting illegally. Further stating that while they were busy skinning a kudu they had killed they heard gunshots with one of the bullets hitting Ukandanga and the other hitting their hunting dog.
“It is always easy to criticise a person after a certain incident, but the law in the circumstances did not require from the accused person to act in any other manner than the manner in which he acted,” explained Wessels.
According to Sam Karugab, a forensic scientist, Ukandanga died as a result of being struck on his left-hand side by a ricocheting bullet.
During his testimony Karugab indicated that although his findings showed that the bullets were fired in the direction of Ukandanga, they could not indicate if the shots were directly intended for him.
The state is of the view that Rust version of events is far from the truth as it was not possible for him not to see human beings who were more and larger than the stray dog he claimed he shot at. Further submitting that Rust fired more shots after the witnesses started to run.
“The state prays to this court to return a conviction on a count of murder as the accused is charged, dolus directus, and be found guilty as charged on counts 2,3,4 of attempted murder,” stated state prosecutor Fillemon Nyau in his argument.