Magistrate to deliver judgement in escapee case on 18 March

04 Mar 2019 16:50pm
SWAKOPMUND, 04 MAR (NAMPA) – Judgement in the case of three men who escaped from the Swakopmund police holdings cells last month, will be delivered in the Swakopmund Regional Court on 18 March.
The accused made their first appearance on the charge of escaping from custody here on Monday for plea and trial, which was followed by mitigation by the court.
Mathias Nujoma, 27; 24-year-old Ngenokesho Stefanus and 26-year-old Fabianus Lazarus appeared before Swakopmund Regional Court Magistrate Gaynor Poulton, who emphasised the severity of the offence and the need for strict punishment.
“While escaping custody is tantamount to defeating the court of justice, the funds used to embark on re-arresting the three of you were also exorbitant, hence the need for tighter sentencing,” Poulton told the accused.
She also highlighted the fact that despite having pleaded guilty, none of the accused expressed any relevant reasons for their escape, other than the fact that they were all denied bail.
Poulton was in agreement with State Prosecutor Latoya Katjitundu, who requested that the punishment should suit the offence and the public interest in the matter.
“Escaping custody has become prevalent in Namibia and just because these accused pleaded guilty to it, it does not necessarily mean they are remorseful. Furthermore, the court does not intend on encouraging any further escapes from custody, therefore granting the accused a fine rather than the 24 months imprisonment as stipulated by the high court, would be an injustice,” Katjitundu stated.
The prosecutor supported her argument with the fact that the accused intended to escape custody and disregard the law.
“It is clear that these accused do not have any respect for Namibian justice at all,” she said.
The accused are allowed, with valid reasons, to appeal, for a different kind of punishment before 14 March 2019.
Nujoma, Stefanus and Lazarus escaped from the holding cells along with Daniel Stefanus Nghilifa, on 11 February.
The four accused reportedly escaped through “an open gap” in a cell window.
Nghilifa is still at large, while Nujoma, Stefanus and Lazarus were rearrested in Angola on 17 February and transferred back to Swakopmund.