Swakop woman jailed for three years for boiling water assault

By Paulus Shiku

SWAKOPMUND: A 29-year-old woman was jailed for three years on Tuesday for pouring boiling water over another female here in April this year.

Josephina Nghaamwa, a mother of two children, was earlier found guilty of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm by Swakopmund Magistrate Ileni Velikoshi, who also meted out the punishment today.

“The evidence before me indicates that the accused has been aggressive, showed no respect to the complainant and referred to her as a child who came from her house without manners, and who ought to respect her. The message here today is that violence does not settle anything right. Those who believe that violence settles disputes – this is the type of sentences they should expect,” said Velikoshi.

Nghaamwa burst out in tears upon hearing her sentence.

She was accused of having started a fight with her boyfriend’s tenant, Helena Nghipandulwa, 21, for allegedly disrespecting her and leaving dirty water in the kitchen sink.

The incident took place on 30 April 2014 at a house in Swakopmund, where Nghaamwa allegedly boiled water after the fight she had started with Nghipandulwa, and later poured it on her, causing serious injuries to Nghipandulwa’s face and chest.

Following the assault, Nghipandulwa spent over seven days in the Swakopmund State Hospital for medical treatment.

“This is one case where a fine will not be appropriate, as it will be either too low or too expensive for the accused to afford. Society expects that those convicted of violent crimes be appropriately punished.

If lenient sentences are imposed, society might feel that it is better to take the law into their own hands and deal with suspected offenders. This will be undesirable, and may lead to lawlessness,” said the magistrate.

Velikoshi said although Nghipandulwa’s wounds have healed, she was belittled and humiliated – the scars on her will forever remind her of the terrifying incident.

“The offence is very prevalent in this district. Statistics of violent crimes, of which assault is one, tops the list in this district, so the offence is indeed very serious. Water is readily available, and anyone can easily boil it and use it as a weapon with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm,” the presiding officer continued.

Nghaamwa testified that she poured hot water onto Nghipandulwa in self-defence, as the latter was allegedly beating her with a cooking stick and pulling her hair.

This argument was, however, disproved by two State witnesses, who said there was no cooking stick used, and that Nghaamwa poured the boiling water on Nghipandulwa approximately five minutes after the physical fight.

State Prosecutor Erastus Hatutale submitted before sentencing that the accused should not be given a fine, and should rather be removed from society and allowed to rehabilitate as her offence is serious.