First Arguments Heard on Schiefer Appeal Bid

A RULING that should indicate if double murder convict Romeo Schiefer will be allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court, against his conviction and 48-year prison term, is expected to be given in the Windhoek High Court by early June.

After hearing oral arguments on an application by Schiefer for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court yesterday, Judge Naomi Shivute said she would deliver her judgement on the matter on June 3, or earlier if her ruling is ready sooner than that.

Schiefer (25), who was not present in court with the hearing of arguments yesterday, wants to appeal to the Supreme Court against his conviction on two charges of murder and the 48-year prison term to which Judge Shivute sentenced him on 24 October last year.

Judge Shivute found him guilty of the murder of his parents, Frans and Francina Schiefer (both aged 50), who were killed in their house in Khomasdal in Windhoek during the evening of 18 January 2008.

During his trial, which started before Judge Shivute in March 2011, Schiefer denied he was guilty of murdering his parents.

A substantial part of his trial was devoted to a hearing on the admissibility of a confession that Schiefer made to a senior police officer on the day after the killing of his parents. Judge Shivute ruled the confession admissible, and went on to find Schiefer guilty, based on the contents of the confession, forensic evidence and circumstantial evidence that had also been placed before the court.

In the statement that Schiefer made to a chief inspector in the police he claimed he was “triggered” and “decided that this is enough” when his mother swore at him and accused him of not wanting to learn, wasting her money and walking around doing nothing.

He told the officer that he fetched a knife from a drawer and attacked his mother with it. After that, he fetched his father’s pistol from a wardrobe in his bedroom and shot his father with the firearm, he said. Having shot his father in the head where he lay in his bedroom, he returned to the kitchen where he found his mother, Schiefer related.

He said his mother tried to lock him out of the house, but he shot open the kitchen door.

When he found his mother back in his parents’ bedroom he fired shots at her, and later also again stabbed her, he said.

Defence lawyer Winnie Christians, who also defended Schiefer during his trial, argued yesterday that there is a possibility that another court could draw different inferences from the evidence than Judge Shivute had done. One of the issues on which another court could come to a different conclusion is on the question whether Schiefer had been properly informed of his rights before he made the self-incriminating statement to the police, Christians argued.

Another court could also come to a different conclusion on the issue of the sentence imposed on Schiefer and could decide to reduce the effective term of 48 years’ imprisonment that he received, Christians argued.

He emphasised that it was not his argument that Judge Shivute was wrong with her verdict or with the sentencing of Schiefer. Instead, it is his argument that Schiefer should be given leave to appeal because another court might come to a different conclusion, he said.

State aocate Palmer Kumalo argued that Schiefer did not have reasonable prospects of success with an appeal and that Judge Shivute correctly convicted and sentenced him.

The evidence heard during the trial showed that Schiefer had been informed several times of his rights before he decided to go ahead and make his confession, and there is no room for a finding that he had not been properly informed of his rights, Kumalo argued.

He further argued that the sentence imposed on Schiefer was merited, considering the brutality of the murders of which he was convicted.

Source : The Namibian