Supreme Court dismisses appeals by Fellinger's killers

31 Oct 2014 15:00pm
WINDHOEK, 31 OCT (NAMPA) - The last attempt by jailed former Namibian Police officer Fanuel Festus Shipanga and his accomplice Paulus Kamati to have their long custodial terms reduced, was unsuccessful.
Shipanga and Kamati were each sent to jail for an effective 46 years by Acting High Court Judge Dinnah Usiku on 26 May 2011.
This was for robbing and murdering visiting German tourist Johannes Fellinger, 56, on the Daan Viljoen road outside Windhoek in July 2007.
The late Fellinger's wife Elke Maria Gobel Fellinger survived the brutal attack.
The two jailed men suffered another heavy blow in their last attempt to have their punishment reduced when the Supreme Court on Friday morning dismissed their appeal applications in a judgment handed down by a full bench of judges comprising Chief Justice Peter Shivute, and Judges of Appeal Sylvester Mainga and Gerhard Maritz.
Judge of Appeal Mainga compiled the judgement on the dismissal of the appeal applications, with Shivute and Maritz concurring.
He said in his verdict that the two appellants (Shipanga and Kamati) committed serious, premeditated crimes.
“It is so appalling to think that the victims arrived in the country and that by the end of the day, one of them (Johannes Fellinger) was dead and the other one (Elke Fellinger) survived by the most fortuitous circumstances.
I am not persuaded that the court below (High Court) misdirected itself in any way on the facts or law,” he said, adding that the sentences imposed against the two men were most appropriate under the circumstances.
In the result, Mainga noted, the appeal applications by the two on their convictions and sentences are dismissed.
Windhoek-based defence lawyers Sisa Namandje and Frans Kwala, who appeared for the two men during the trial in the High Court, also represented the duo in the Supreme Court.
Deputy Prosecutor-General Danie Small represented the State.
The former Ondangwa-based police officer Shipanga and Kamati were each found guilty on charges of murder with the direct intent to kill, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, robbery with aggravating circumstances, illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition.
On the first count of murder with intent to kill, each was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment.
On the second count of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, they were each sent to jail for 12 years.
On the third count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, they each got six years jail.
On the last two counts of illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition, the duo was each sent to jail for one year.
In addition, Acting High Court Judge Usiku ordered that two years of the punishment imposed on both the second and third count should run concurrently with the sentence imposed on the first count of murder.
The two men were thus each sentenced to an effective total of 46 years’ imprisonment.
They were also both declared unfit to possess and own a firearm for a period of three years.
If they are still alive by the end of their sentences, Shipanga will be 86, and Kamati 75-years-old.
“This was a criminal joint enterprise, and you committed the offences with a common purpose, namely that of killing the visiting German tourist. Shooting an unarmed visiting tourist who just arrived in the country is horrendous.
Indeed, severe prison terms will fit the crimes you committed,” acting Judge Usiku said then.
Meanwhile, on 30 October 2008, Shipanga and Kamati both denied any involvement in Fellinger’s murder when they entered preliminary pleas of 'not guilty' to the five counts.
Officers of the Namibian Police Force's Serious Crime Unit arrested Kamati in September 2007 in the Windhoek city centre.
Shipanga was arrested on 05 August 2007 at his northern home town of Ondangwa in the Oshana Region, following a tip-off from members of the public.
According to evidence proferred before court, the late Fellinger was shot dead in cold blood on 08 July 2007 after two men in camouflage attire approached him and his wife where they had stopped their rented pick-up vehicle on the mountainous Daan Viljoen road in the Khomas Hochland area.
The couple was taking photos when the two men approached the vehicle.
They attacked the wife, who was sitting in the vehicle, and then shot the husband in the head when he tried to come to her aid.
The two men then loaded Fellinger's dead body next to his wife in the vehicle and sped-off from the scene, but overturned the vehicle at the Otjimbingwe turn-off on the same day of the murder incident.
Elke Fellinger and one of their attackers suffered injuries when the vehicle overturned.
The men, however, managed to flee on foot, and had been on the run for almost a month before the police finally arrested them.