25 Sep 2018 14:30pm
WINDHOEK, 25 SEP (NAMPA) An appeal by a farmworker imprisoned for 42 years for the rape and murder of an elderly woman in the Ovitoto area in September 2009, was on Tuesday temporarily removed from the High Court roll.
Paulus Titus was on 26 May 2016 sent to prison for an effective 42 years by High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo for the rape and murder of his employer, the 75-year-old Erica Tjiho, who was found dead inside her corrugated iron house on 01 September 2009.
The appeal hearing was scheduled to start Tuesday morning before Judge Ndauendapo, but the judge ordered the removal of the matter from the roll for the time being because the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid has failed to appoint a State-funded defence lawyer to represent Titus during the intended appeal bid.
The appeal will, however, be placed back on the roll once the Legal Aid appoints a lawyer for the jailed farmworker.
Titus is fighting for a reduction of his sentence because he feels the punishment is too heavy when compared to sentences handed down in respect of similar criminal offences.
State Advocate Carol-Ann Esterhuizen represented the prosecution, while Titus appeared in person with no legal representation on Tuesday.
On the first count of murder, Titus was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment and 12 years on the second count of rape.
On the third count of theft in respect of clothing and an unspecified amount of money he took from the house of the deceased shortly after the incident, he was sentenced to one year imprisonment.
He was ordered to serve the second sentence concurrently with the sentence imposed in the count of murder.
Titus claimed that he had just slapped Tjiho a number of times in the face out of anger because she failed to pay him wages he was promised and because she tried to prevent him from leaving the place where he had been working for her in the Ovitoto area.
He also disputed the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) results, which found a match of his DNA profile in samples collected from Tjihos genitals.
Tjiho died of strangulation.
Local lawyer Hipura Ujaha defended Titus during the trial.