06 Aug 2013 08:00
WINDHOEK, 06 AUG (NAMPA) - A man who was in May this year convicted of killing a four-year-old child at Maltahöhe in the Hardap Region during March 2010, has been sentenced to an effective 30 years imprisonment.
The 31-year-old Niklaas Muzorongondo was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment on the first count of murder with a direct intent to kill.
On the second and last count of obstructing the course of justice, to which he pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial, Muzorongondo was sent to jail for 12 months.
This charge stems from the fact that he buried his four-year-old victim - Antoinette !Aes - in a shallow grave in the backyard of a farmstead between 05 and 13 March 2010, and thereafter informed his grandmother and the police that the child was missing.
In addition, High Court Judge Naomi Shivute who imposed punishment in the matter on Tuesday morning, has ordered that the sentence imposed on the last count of obstructing the course of justice should run concurrently with the sentence imposed on the first count of murder with a direct intent to kill.
As a result, Muzorongondo was sent to jail for an effective total of 30 years, and will be about 61 years old if he manages to finish serving his punishment while still alive.
The four-year-old child - Antoinette !Aes - was placed in your care by the grandmother. And instead of taking care of the child, you decided to end her life in a brutal manner. You deprived the innocent and defenceless child of her life at such a very young age. You killed the deceased child for no apparent reason.
It is very sad and shocking to hear that you killed the child because she was crying too much and making noise. I am, therefore, of the opinion that a lengthy custodial term will be an appropriate punishment in this matter, said Judge Shivute as she handed down the sentence.
Evidence presented before court by State representative, Deputy Prosecutor-General Advocate Belinda Wantenaar had it that Muzorongondo's misdirection on the toddler's whereabouts led to a futile three-day search by the police and community members.
He only confided in his brother on the third day of the search, when the police were about to arrest him in connection with the disappearance of the child.
During his evidence-in-chief, Muzorongondo told the court that a 'spirit' made him pick up the deceased child and throw her to the concrete floor.
During submissions on the verdict, Wantenaar was adamant that he should have foreseen that his conduct, when he first hit the child in her stomach with clenched fists and threw her to the concrete floor, could result in her death.
She further argued that his conduct after he viciously attacked the child should be indicative to the court that he had no concerns about the extent of the injuries she might have sustained, as he did not bother to check on the extent of her injuries.
Windhoek-based defence lawyer Boris Isaacks, who appeared on behalf of Muzorongondo, wanted the court to find his client guilty on a lesser charge of culpable homicide of negligence causing the death of the toddler instead of that of murder with a direct intent to kill.
Muzorongondo has personally admitted during the trial that he had delivered some blows which led to the death of the minor child, but denied that he had the intention to kill her.
Isaacks represented Muzorongondo on the instructions of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid.
Muzorongondo is a single father of two minor children, who are now in the care of their respective mothers.
He attended school up to Grade Nine and is a first-time offender with no criminal record.