21 Oct 2013 11:40am
WINDHOEK, 21 OCT (NAMPA) The appeal application by a man who was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment last November for shooting and killing two women in Mariental in the Hardap Region during May 2009, kicked off in the High Court here on Monday.
The appeal application by 35-year-old Salmon Nakale against his long prison term is being heard by High Court judge Alfred Siboleka.
Nakale is appealing against both the conviction and sentence he received, saying there was some misdirection by the court when it imposed the 50-year punishment for the double murder.
In his submission this morning, Nakale's State-appointed defence lawyer Titus Ipumbu said the trial court also did not take into consideration the various uncorroborated witness testimonies, which were presented before court by the prosecution.
There was a lot of uncorroborated evidence presented before court by the State during the trial.
There was also some kind of misdirection by the trial court, as it heavily relied on a number of questionable circumstantial evidence during judgement and at the time of imposing punishment, Ipumbu argued strongly.
Meanwhile, the prosecution, led by Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef, is opposing Nakale's appeal bid on the grounds that the evidence provided by several State witnesses during the trial was consistent, and the witnesses corroborated one another in their testimonies.
She said the State had proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt that the appellant was responsible for the death of the two women, and that he had shot and killed the two women in a jealous rage.
Nakale was found guilty on 24 August 2012 of the murder of his girlfriend Rebecca Katana, 22, and her sister Lucia Erastus, 31, by High Court Judge Siboleka, and sent to jail on 14 November last year for a total of 50 years.
He shot and killed the two women on 09 May 2009 at the Ombili informal settlement at Mariental in the Hardap Region.
Katana died instantly, while Erastus died of multiple gunshot wounds a few hours later at the Mariental State Hospital, where she was taken by the police for medical treatment.
On the first count of murder of Katana, Nakale was sent to jail for 30 years, and 20 more years for the second count of killing Erastus.
Nakale had claimed that the two women were accidentally killed when a shot or shots went off from a firearm during an alleged struggle between himself and Katana for possession of the weapon during a heated argument on that fateful day.
Nakale denied the double murder and pleaded not guilty to the two counts of murder at the start of his trial in the Windhoek High Court in October 2011.
In a plea explanation presented to court by his State-appointed lawyer, Ipumbu, he claimed that the two women were shot accidentally.
Evidence presented before and during the trial had it that Nakale was arrested only after he had instructed his brother, Simpson Nakale, to inform the police of his whereabouts at Mariental a day after the two murders took place.
The police found Nakale in the veld near Gibeon, close to where he abandoned his car after the shooting incident that claimed the lives of the two women.
Windhoek-based lawyer Ipumbu is defending Nakale, acting on the instructions of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid.
Ipumbu had also earlier defended Nakale during the main trial.
The hearing continues on Tuesday.