23 Jan 2019 19:50pm
REHOBOTH, 23 JAN (NAMPA) A 25-year-old woman who pleaded guilty to a kidnapping offence on Tuesday in Rehoboth was on Wednesday sentenced to five years imprisonment of which 12 months were suspended for a period of five years.
After admitting guilt to kidnapping of an infant on Tuesday, Sharon Kaenjerewandu appeared before Magistrate Kandinawapa Nangombe at the Rehoboth Magistrates Court to hear her fate in the presence of her legal counsel Ernstine Jansen.
In handing down the sentence Nangombe said the court must give due weight to each mitigating and aggravating factor whilst not losing sight of the acknowledged objects and purpose of the criminal punishment, which is to deter by discouraging others from committing the crime due its prevalence in the country and prevention through protecting the public from further criminal conduct by the accused.
Reformation through rehabilitation of the offender by educational or other correctional treatment in the most effective manner and through retribution, thus, if the crime is viewed by society with abhorrence, the sentence should also reflect this abhorrence, said Nangombe.
Nangombe said the nature of the crime of kidnapping is of considerable importance and it may be of such significance or so far reaching that imprisonment is the only adequate punishment.
She further said the feelings and requirements of the community, the protection of society against the accused and other potential offenders must be considered, while the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the country needs to be taken into consideration as well.
The court also noted that it is shocking that the accused, being a mother herself, would resort to stealing or kidnapping someone elses child, a helpless vulnerable baby of three months.
Before handing down the sentence Nangombe said crimes against children have reached an alarming rate as evidenced by daily media reports of the same.
Therefore, it is expected from courts to curb this evil and show that those who commit these crimes will be severely punished, the magistrate added.
On Tuesday, Kaenjerewandu, through her legal aid lawyer, Jansen, in her mitigating plea said she has a two-year-old child who lives on a farm with her 67-year-old grandmother.
Kaenjerewandu said a friend, known only as Leon, asked her to get him a child, even if it was an infant. When visiting a friends house, the mother of the baby handed over the then one-month-old baby to her to use the bathroom.
The moment the mother of the child was out of sight the accused went to a service station in Rehoboth to meet Leon to hand over the baby, but he did not answer his mobile phone.
It is then that she decided to take a lift to Windhoek and was informed the next day the police were looking for her, after which she informed them where she resides and was picked up. Wanaheda Police Station officials then brought her to Rehoboth where she also returned the baby unharmed.