State to appeal against rape/murder acquittal

09 May 2017 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 09 MAY (NAMPA) - A young man who was in March 2017 discharged on charges of rape and murder of a schoolgirl whose body was found dumped in the bushes between Shandumbala and Western Bypass in March 2013, might not be off the hook yet.
Fransiscus Dimitri Narimab, 24, was on 16 March 2017 set free in a ruling handed down by Acting High Court Judge Boas Usiku, following his successful application for discharge which was brought before court by his State-funded defence lawyer, Mbanga Siyomuinji.
The defence brought the application for discharge at the closing of the prosecution’s case in terms of the provisions of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977 that deal with acquittal of an accused.
Not happy with this acquittal, the prosecution led by State Advocate Ethel Ndlovu on Tuesday approached the Windhoek High Court with an urgent application, asking the court to be allowed leave to appeal against Usiku's decision for acquittal.
Narimab was on trial alongside Ruben Fritz, 17, for the rape and murder of Alwina Uri-Khos between 28 and 29 March 2013.
As a result of the State's application to be allowed leave to appeal against Narimab's acquittal, the continuation of the trial in respect of Fritz's case was on Tuesday put on hold until 13 June 2017 to allow the Registrar of the High Court to set down a date for the hearing of the planned appeal by the State.
The postponement was effected as per agreement reached between Ndlovu and Fritz’s government-sponsored defence lawyer, Sampson Enkali in court.
Narimab was acquitted on a charge of murder, two counts of rape, robbery with aggravating circumstances and defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat the course of justice in respect of the death of the schoolgirl.
Usiku said at the time there was no prima facie evidence presented by prosecution before court upon which a reasonable court may convict the accused person.
“In the result, the application for discharge is granted and the accused person is, therefore, discharged on all charges he was facing,” said Usiku.
The rape and murder of the schoolgirl four years ago sent shockwaves through the Katutura suburbs of ‘Damara Location’ and Shandumbala at the time.
According to a summary of substantial facts contained in the charge sheet, during that fateful night, Uri-Khos was in the company of Narimab and Fritz and they were seen socialising at different shebeens in Shandumbala.
She was raped twice.
On the charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances, the State alleges that Uri-Khos was thrown to the ground, hit with stones and other unknown objects, and robbed of her mobile telephone, a pair of shoes and trousers.
The victim was strangled to death after she was hit with rocks on the head and due to the blunt force impact trauma, died on the spot.
Fritz remains in police custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility until his next court appearance 13 June 2017.