Defence pleads for acquittal in murder case


Maria Amakali

Windhoek-An Okahandja resident’s defence team hopes for an acquittal on a charge of murder on grounds the accused had acted in self-defence when he stabbed to death Jonas Thomas three years ago.

Tangeni Shiwala, 35, is on trial for the murder of Thomas. The prosecution alleges Shiwala unlawfully and intentionally killed Thomas by stabbing him with a knife in his neck in Windhoek on January 01, 2014. Shiwala was arrested days later at a farm located 5km from Okahandja.

During submissions made in the Windhoek Regional Court before Magistrate Elina Nandago, Shiwala’s defence counsel Mbanga Siyomunji argued the court should acquit his client on a charge of murder as the State apparently failed to prove its case.

Shiwala pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial in March 2016.
According to him, he was having a drink with his friends at the municipal compound when Thomas got into an argument with some people.

Thomas then approached him enquiring about the shoes he had sold and they got into an altercation which did not get physical.

As he was leaving the shebeen, he again had an encounter with Thomas who, according to his (Shiwala’s) version of events, had a knife, and Thomas tried to stab Shiwala but he blocked him with his hand which resulted in a cut.
“If he did not block him the knife would have landed on his chest,” explained Siyomunji.

It is alleged that at that moment Shiwala took out his knife and stabbed Thomas in the upper part of his body.
In Shiwala’s defence he allegedly stabbed Thomas because he was afraid for his life.

“We respectfully submit that the accused must be acquitted on a count of murder as the State failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of murder,” Siyomunji pleaded with the court.

During the trial the State called two witnesses to the stand, one being the investigating officer, and in their testimonies none of them saw Shiwala stabbing Thomas on that day.

Investigating officer Seth Arabeb, during his testimony, noted that he found Thomas in a pool of blood and next to his body was an okapi knife.

Prosecutor Mencia Hinda said Shiwala should have foreseen that stabbing someone with a sharp object on a very sensitive part of the body would result in death, alternatively severe injuries.
“The accused person failed to take steps … as a result he should be convicted on a charge of culpable homicide,” stated Hinda.

Magistrate Nandago is expected to deliver the verdict next week on Monday.


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