No Appeal Allowed in Brutal Rape Case

A CHILD rapist whose sentencing more than 10 years ago was a milestone in Namibia’s continuing battle against sex crimes will have to direct a petition to the Chief Justice if he wants to continue with a belated appeal against his 40-year prison term.

Former teacher Festus Israel Veundjua Kaanjuka heard in the Windhoek High Court on Tuesday that his application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against the sentence he has been serving since June 2004 has been dismissed by Judge President Petrus Damaseb and Acting Judge Collins Parker.

The dismissal of his application leaves Kaanjuka with only one more option – a petition to the Chief Justice for leave to appeal to be given to him – if he wants to continue with an appeal against his sentence.

Kaanjuka was sentenced to an effective 40 years’ imprisonment in June 2004 after he was convicted on two counts of rape. His sentence remains one of the heaviest terms of imprisonment yet imposed on someone convicted of rape in Namibia.

Kaanjuka brutally raped two girls, who were both eight years old, Judge President Damaseb remarked on Monday during the hearing of arguments on Kaanjuka’s request to be allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court. The Judge President, who wrote the judgement in which the High Court dismissed Kaanjuka’s first appeal against his sentence in February 2005, also recounted that the two girls were raped with such violence that one of them was left bleeding heavily.

Shocking photographs of the scene in the house where the two children were raped at Okahandja in October 2002 show pools of blood on a bed, a bedside table, and on a carpet where the crimes were committed.

Kaanjuka told Judge President Damaseb and Acting Judge Parker on Monday that in his view the magistrate who sentenced him in the Windhoek Regional Court failed to take into account that he was a first offender, that he had admitted that he was guilty of the crimes that he committed while in a drunken state, and that he did not waste the court’s time during his trial.

Kaanjuka also argued that the magistrate should not have sentenced him to 20 years’ imprisonment on each of the two rape charges, leaving him with an effective sentence of 40 years, and should have taken the two crimes as one for the purpose of sentencing, since they were committed at the same time.

The same argument was already considered and dealt with in the appeal judgement delivered nearly 10 years ago, Acting Judge Parker noted in the judgement handed down on Tuesday. He also noted that in the previous appeal judgement the High Court concluded that the magistrate had acted correctly when he treated each rape in its own right and imposed a sentence for each offence separately.

Acting Judge Parker, with the Judge President in agreement, concluded that there was no reasonable prospect that the Supreme Court might take a different view about the sentence imposed by the magistrate and confirmed by the High Court.

Judge President Damaseb made some hard-hitting remarks about sexual crimes in the judgement in which Kaanjuka’s appeal was first dismissed. Stating that brutality against vulnerable people in Namibia, especially women and children, had reached a crisis point, he warned that the courts, as the custodians of the country’s laws, had to exact vengeance for people’s actions when those threaten the fabric of society.

“Those who commit despicable and heinous crimes against women and children, crimes that we have, shamefully, now become accustomed to as a community, should expect harsh sentences from the courts of this land,” the Judge President stated.

He also commented: “What he [Kaanjuka] did is beyond comprehension. It represents the apogee of brutality by an adult against two vulnerable children. Long sentences are, in my view, a categorical imperative for those, like the appellant, who commit rape against young children.”

State aocate Innocentia Nyoni represented the prosecution during the hearing of arguments on Monday.

Source : The Namibian