Mental observation halts child murder trial

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Maria Amakali

WINDHOEK – A mother who stands accused of strangling her one-month-old baby to death is yet to undergo mental observation.

Her trial is thus delayed.
On the request of her defence lawyer, the court ordered Liina lineekela Shaambeni to undergo psychiatric evaluation to determine if she was of right mind when she allegedly strangled her one-month-old baby to death.
The observation would further help determine if she is stable enough to understand court proceedings, her ability to put up a proper defence and whether she is fit to stand trial. The observation would further determine if she can be held criminally liable for her actions.

Shaambeni made her mandatory appearance in the Windhoek Regional Court on Friday before Magistrate Ileni Velikoshi. According to the prosecutor Fillemon Nyau, the investigative officer managed to make a booking with the Windhoek Psychiatric Ward to have Shaambeni observed. “The investigative officer went to do the booking but there are a number of people in the queue,” explained Nyau.

The prosecution charges that on October 17, 2016 at Katutura Intermediate Hospital behind the nurses’ homes in the district of Windhoek, Shaambeni unlawfully and intentionally killed her one-month-old baby by strangling him with a rope.

Given the accusations, Shaambeni’s defence lawyer Johan van Vuuren asked the court to have Shaambeni observed as she seemed to be vague, not sure and could not comprehend what was going on.

The mother of two denied the allegations against her when she took the no guilty plea without giving any explanation. During Shaambeni’s failed bail application, Detective Sergeant Jefta Shikehama took the stand stating that Shaambeni confessed to the gruesome killing.

Shikehama testified that Shaambeni arrived in Windhoek in a patient’s bus from Lüderitz after she had given birth to a premature baby boy. Upon her arrival at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital her baby went missing. The nurses at the hospital got suspicious and informed the police. Upon being questioned by the police Shaambeni allegedly confessed that she took the baby behind the hospital close to the nurse’s homes and killed the baby by strangling him with a rope from his T-shirt.

According to Shikehama, Shaambeni told him that she committed the act because the father of the baby denied paternity.

Shaambeni will make a return to court on June 11 after the court postponed the matter for her mental observation.

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