No Appeal for ‘Embodiment of Evil’

Judge President Petrus Damaseb yesterday dismissed the application to appeal by Gavin Beukes whom he described during sentencing as the “embodiment of evil”. The Judge President made short work of the volumnous submission from Beukes’ laywer, Aocate Winnie Christiaans, saying no other court would arrive at a different conclusion. Beukes and his brother Sylvester were convicted of the gruesome mass murder of eight people including a pregnant woman and children on March 5, 2005. The two were sentenced to a combined jail term of 670 years which is a record in Namibian criminal history.

In his submissions, Christiaans refers to many alleged misdirections and errors the Judge President made in his opinion when he sentenced the Beukes brothers and an accomplice, Stoney Neidel. Neidel was only convicted of theft.

Justus ‘Shorty” Erasmus, the son of the husband and wife owners of farm Kareeboomvloer who were two of the victims, was eventually cleared by the Judge President. Sylvester implicated ‘Shorty’ as the “mastermind” behind the massacre. In his judgment, Judge President Damaseb however found no evidence implicating ‘Shorty’ in the murders.

The victims included the farm owners 50-year-old Justus and Elzabeacute Erasmus, an employee of theirs 35-year-old Sunnybooi Swartbooi, Swartbooi’s 32-year-old pregnant partner, Hilma Engelbrecht, their children 6-year-old Christina Engelbrecht and 4-year-old Regina Gertze, Swartbooi’s brother 50-year-old Settie Swartbooi and a relative of Hilma Engelbrecht, 18-year-old Deon Gertze.

In his judgment, the Judge President found that Gavin had ample opportunity to disassociate himself with the killing spree and as such acted in common purpose with his brother who admitted to the murders.

He was sentenced to a total of 275 years, but if calculated with the number of years to run concurrently comes to 84 years. In his submissions Christiaans called the sentence “startlingly inappropriate and induces a sense of shock”. However Judge President Damaseb was not swayed and said that in his view the sentence imposed is reasonable in the circumstances.

Source : New Era