30 Jul 2013 09:11
WINDHOEK, 30 JUL (NAMPA) An Oshakati resident who stands accused of taking part in an armed robbery at the Woermann Brock shopping centre in Khomasdal during October 2008, was found guilty as charged in the High Court here on Tuesday.
The 56-year-old John Matheus Frans Tjappa was convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances; three counts of attempted murder; one count of the negligent handling of a firearm while in a public place; illegal possession of a firearm; as well as illegal possession of ammunition.
You were positively identified by the majority of the State witnesses as the person who wielded a firearm on 11 October 2008 inside the Woermann Brock supermarket, and who ordered people to lie down.
You at a later stage emerged from inside the grocery supermarket, carrying bags that contained the stolen money. Some of the State witnesses had a very close encounter with you when you hit them with a firearm on the bodies, and threatened to kill them, High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo said as he read the verdict.
He went on to say that in his view, the evidence presented by the State witnesses during the trial was credible and true.
I am, therefore, satisfied that the prosecution proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt that you were part of a group of men who robbed the shop that fateful day because when the police officers pulled you out of the stormwater pipes, they found you with some of the stolen money hidden on your body, he added.
Earlier reports carried by local English daily the Namibian Sun had it that Tjappa landed in the dock alone in the Windhoek High Court after his arrest on 11 October 2008 when the Woermann Brock supermarket was robbed as it was about to close for the day, a few minutes before 19h00.
On the above-mentioned day, a group of armed men, including Tjappa, entered the store and ordered all customers and personnel who were still in the store to lie down on the floor.
The men allegedly instructed the personnel to hand over the cash from the tills and safe, while they also assaulted the occupants of the shop.
The robbers then fled from the shop with at least two bags of money and money stuffed in their clothes, the court heard during the trial.
In an attempt to escape from the police and members of the public who attempted to apprehend him, Tjappa fired numerous shots at them with a .22 revolver, for which he did not even have a licence.
He, however, failed to escape, and was arrested by the police while hiding in a nearby stormwater pipe.
State Advocate Palmer Khumalo said he was clearly identified at the time of his arrest.
Windhoek-based defence lawyer Mbushandje Nhinda, acting on the instructions of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid, is representing Tjappa.
He returns to the Windhoek High Court on 07 August this year to hear submissions of evidence in mitigation and aggravation of sentence by both the defence and the prosecution.