Windhoek-Kai Rust, a farmer who stood trial for a shooting incident that resulted in the death of a suspected poacher on his father’s farm near Okahandja in 2016, has been found guilty of culpable homicide.
The Windhoek Regional Court delivered the verdict to Rust, 45, who was facing three counts of attempted murder as well as a murder charge for the death of Andreas Ukandanga, 41.
He was said to have attempted to kill three of Ukandanga’s companions, but was instead found guilty of culpable homicide and not murder with direct intent.
Handing down judgement in the matter Magistrate Alexis Diergaardt having convicted Rust of culpable homicide, found him not guilty on all three charges of attempted murder.
The court indicated that Rust, who is trained in firearms, should have foreseen the eminent consequence of him firing those shots. The court is convinced that the accused was negligent in his actions, which consequently resulted in the death of Ukandanga.
The prosecution was charging that Rust intentionally killed Ukandanga when he fired the shots on his father’s farm north-east of Okahandja on January 27, 2016. Based on the evidence presented by a forensic expert, the court came to the conclusion that Rust did not have a direct intent to kill Ukandanga on that fateful date. The forensic report further indicated that the bullet that hit Ukandanga was a ricocheting bullet, which was not directly intended for him.
Diergaardt explained that according to the court’s own findings when they visited the scene of the crime in Okahandja late last year, it is very difficult to see a person seated behind a rock where Ukandanga was from the position where Rust fired the shots. “One can only see the upper part of the rock from that point, no one can see a person behind the rock,” narrated Diergaardt.
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.
“I am a little bit disappointed about the judgment. I am sorry that somebody was hurt but I was not aware that there was a person. I am sorry that the incident occurred,” said Rust moments after the court handed down judgment in his case.
Rust will make a return in court for mitigation and sentencing on February 16. His bail has been extended until his next appearance. Defence attorney Jan Wessels is representing Rust with Fillemon Nyau prosecuting for the state.