Windhoek-The State-funded lawyer of murder convict, Willem Freddy Eksteen, wants the court to treat him as a juvenile offender when it considers the sentence to be passed on him.
Milton Engelbrecht of Engelbrecht Attorneys asked High Court Judge Dinah Usiku to take into consideration that Eksteen was only 18 years old when the incident occurred. He further told Judge Usiku that the court should show a measure of mercy on Eksteen.
Eksteen was convicted of murdering Janetta Babiep, with whom he was in a romantic relationship and had a child, during the period September 21 to 22, 2014 at farm Warmfontein near Aroab in the Keetmanshoop District.
According to Engelbrecht, his client is still very young at 22 years old and is a good candidate and an excellent prospect for rehabilitation, which is one of the factors of sentencing. He further reminded the court that Eksteen is a first offender and said while the offence of murder is a serious one, the court should not impose a sentence that will break the accused, but rather sentence him to an extent that he can have a second chance. He asked for a sentence of fewer than 20 years with some of the sentence suspended to hang over his head.
State Advocate Felicitas Sikerete-Vendura, on the other hand, told the court that Eksteen acted like an adult and a hardened criminal when he strangled the deceased for 120 seconds until she was dead. She further said the fact that Eksteen was found guilty of murder without direct intent could be seen as aggravating, as the moral blameworthiness could be more in the circumstances.
“The accused put a rope around the neck of the deceased and forced the life out of the deceased,” she said, adding: “The doctor testified that sufficient force must have been exerted for those two minutes to cause the death of the deceased. That is a very cruel manner in which to kill someone.”
Sikerete-Vendura asked the court not to let down the family of the deceased and society. “The family of the deceased put their trust in the hands of the law,” she said. The state advocate further reminded the court that Eksteen did not show any remorse. “He adamantly came to court and denied any involvement in the murder of the deceased.”
According to her, Eksteen is not a candidate for rehabilitation. “If you are able to strangle a person for 120 seconds till death, you are a hardened criminal, no matter your age,” she said.
She further urged the court to come to the aid of women in Namibia, who are being killed on a daily basis. She asked the court to impose a life imprisonment sentence or alternatively a fixed sentence of 30 years to send out a clear message to like-minded individuals that domestic violence will not be tolerated.
Judge Usiku will deliver the sentence on April 9 this year and Eksteen will remain in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial-awaiting inmates.