13 Nov 2013 17:40pm
WINDHOEK, 13 NOV (NAMPA) - An 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, has been dismissed.
The application by 35-year-old Salmon Nakale against his conviction and long prison term was dismissed in a judgement handed down by High Court judge Alfred Siboleka here on Wednesday morning.
The applicant gave various conflicting versions regarding what had happened that fateful day. And among these conflicting versions were that a struggle for the possession of the pistol ensued between appellant Nakale and deceased Rebecca, resulting in the shots that went off.
This version was found by this court to be untrue. The court duly considered this evidence, and concluded that it was impossible that such a story could be true and, therefore, rejected it as false beyond reasonable doubt, the judge noted.
Judge Siboleka went on to say that after having carefully considered all grounds upon which the court's findings were challenged by the appellant, he came to the conclusion that the appeal application has no reasonable prospects of success, and is, therefore being dismissed by the court.
Nakale was 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 during the failed appeal bid, 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.
Meanwhile the prosecution, led by Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef, strongly opposed 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 deaths 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 at the Ombili informal settlement at Mariental.
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 the murder of Katana, Nakale was sent to jail for 30 years, while he received 20 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.
He 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 him in the veld near Gibeon, close to where he abandoned his car after the shooting incident that claimed the lives of the two women.
Ipumbu was acting on the instructions of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid, and had also earlier defended Nakale during the main trial.