Ex-Oshakati magistrate faces sentencing Friday

Former Oshakati magistrate, Melanie Theron, who was found guilty on multiple charges of corruption in the High Court here last month (August), will face sentencing in the High Court here tomorrow, Friday.

High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo, who presided over the trial, is expected to hand down the sentencing in the matter on 13 September 2019 at 09h00.

Judge Ndauendapo officially announced this in court on 19 August 2019 shortly after having listened to submissions and arguments by Theron herself and Senior State Advocate Simba Nduna in respect of the type of sentence to be imposed in the case.

The former magistrate was on 11 July 2019 found guilty of corruption, fraud, bribery and extortion stemming from allegations that she wrongly and corruptly used her office for self-gratification when she solicited and accepted a number of bribes to withdraw traffic tickets against offenders during her stay at the northern town of Oshakati between February 2010 and August 2011.

In her submissions, Theron who is now conducting her own defence as she could no longer afford to pay for legal representation, asked the court for mercy and to impose a wholly-suspended sentence.

She told the court she regretted her wrongful actions and cannot afford to pay a fine at the moment as she used all her pension pay-out money for the legal fees of her former private-instructed legal representation during the early stage of her case.

On his part, Nduna asked the court to impose a direct prison sentence of two years which may be partly suspended for a period of five years on condition that the former magistrate is not convicted of any offence related to corruption or fraud.

Nduna said Theron, as a magistrate, was supposed to strictly uphold the rule of law, adding that as a result of her wrong actions several members of the public have now lost trust in the country's justice systems and the judiciary.

On 19 July this year (2019), Theron, 31, was convicted on 16 counts out of a total of 20 charges relating to corruptly and wrongly using her office for self-gratification as well as defeating the course of justice.

She was, however, discharged and not found guilty on the other four related charges after the prosecution could not prove these charges beyond reasonable doubt through the evidence of State witnesses.

Evidence presented during trial showed that Theron had accepted a total of about N.dollars 6 600 from various people who were accused of traffic offences before police arrest.

Even though Theron was found guilty as charged, her bail of N.dollars 7 000 was not revoked but instead extended until 13 September 2019 for the handing down of the sentence.

Theron is a first-time offender with no records of previous criminal convictions.

Source: Namibia Press Agency