02 Feb 2018 14:10pm
WINDHOEK, 02 FEB (NAMPA) - Okahandja farmer, Kai Rust, who shot and killed an alleged poacher at his father's farm in January 2016, was on Friday found guilty on a charge of culpable homicide instead of murder.
The 50-year-old Rust had entered not guilty pleas to a count of murder and three other charges of attempted murder at the start of his trial in the Regional Court in Katutura on 30 May 2017.
However, Rust was found not guilty on all the other three charges of attempted murder after the prosecution could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt the veracity of these charges.
In her ruling on Friday morning, Magistrate Alexis Diergaardt, after summing up the totality of the evidence placed before court, said Rust had no intention to kill when he fired shots that claimed the life of the alleged poacher at his father's farm in the Okahandja area on 27 January 2016.
Rust returns to the Windhoek Regional Court on 16 February 2018 for the presentation of the pre-sentencing evidence by his privately-instructed defence lawyer, Jan Wessels, and Public Prosecutor Phillemon Nyau.
On 30 May 2017, charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, which he also faced initially, were withdrawn against him.
Rust was arrested on 27 January 2016, following a shooting incident that claimed the life of alleged poacher Andreas Ukandanga, 41, at his father's farm located north-east of Okahandja in the Otjozondjupa Region.
During the trial, Rust said the fatal shooting took place while he and a farmworker were investigating the barking of dogs near a cattle post.
The farmer testified he did not see any person before he fired shots.
Rust said he found a dead dog and a partly skinned kudu at the scene and a dead man lying on the ground.
Police found four snares, a machete and a knife at the scene where the kudu was skinned.
The three attempted murder counts, which he was discharged, relate to Rust firing shots at three other suspected poachers at the scene.
Rust remains free on bail of N.dollars 40 000 as per agreement reached between his lawyer and prosecutions representative in court on Friday.