Prisoner Extends Jail Time With Appeal

AN 18-YEAR prison term that a former abattoir worker received in May 2009 after he was convicted of the violent rape of an elderly woman at Okahandja, was increased to 20 years’ imprisonment by two judges of the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

The original sentence that convicted rapist Verikaye Kapuire (35) received on a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm did not send out a g enough message that Namibia’s courts would severely punish people who commit violent crimes against women, Judge Nate Ndauendapo said in an appeal judgement that added two years to the effective prison term of 18 years that Kapuire received at the end of his trial in the Windhoek Regional Court on 12 May 2009.

Kapuire was initially sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment on a charge of rape, and a one-year prison term, which was ordered to be served consecutively with the sentence on the rape charge, on a count of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. The result was that he was sentenced to an effective 18 years behind bars.

Dissatisfied with his conviction and sentence, Kapuire launched a belated appeal to the High Court, where Judge Ndauendapo and Judge Christie Liebenberg yesterday agreed with him that his sentence was not appropriate. However, instead of decreasing the sentence as wished for by Kapuire, it was increased when the one-year prison term on the aggravated assault charge was set aside and replaced with three years’ imprisonment, which the judges ordered should be served after the 17-year jail term on the rape charge.

A prison term of one year on a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm was “disturbingly lenient” and out of proportion compared to the gravity of the offence that Kapuire committed when he assaulted and further injured an 80-year-old woman after he had already raped her, Judge Ndauendapo said in the appeal judgement.

Cases involving violence against women have reached alarming levels in Namibia and the courts must play their role to curb that evil, the judge remarked.

The charges on which Kapuire was convicted and sentenced date from 18 May 2008, when an 80-year-old resident of Okahandja was attacked in her house and raped by a man whom she had asked to help her get rid of a snake that she had seen in her garden.

The woman was attacked after she had gone into the house to fetch meat that she wanted to give to the man to thank him for his help, Judge Ndauendapo recounted in his judgement, with which Judge Liebenberg agreed.

During his trial, Kapuire claimed he had intercourse with the woman, who was more than 50 years his senior, with her consent. Magistrate Dinnah Usiku, who presided over Kapuire’s trial, correctly rejected that claim, Judge Ndauendapo said.

Kapuire was 29 years old at the time of the incident.

After the complainant had been raped, Kapuire also assaulted her by slapping her in the face, before he tied her up and continued to assault her by hitting her with an umbrella.

“The assault on the complainant was vicious, merciless and brutal,” Judge Ndauendapo commented. “Her plea for mercy fell on deaf ears.”

Taking into account the victim’s aanced age, the nature of the assault on her and the injuries that she suffered, the one-year prison term that Kapuire received for the assault was out of proportion compared to the gravity of the offence, the judge said.

State aocate Shakwa Nyambe represented the prosecution with the hearing of Kapuire’s appeal. Kapuire was represented by Charles Visser, acting as a friend of the court.

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Source : The Namibian