Judgment for alleged child killer set for September

Windhoek-A man accused of slitting the throats of his two biological children will hear his fate on September 29 this year, it was announced yesterday by High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo after he heard closing arguments from the legal counsels for the State and defense.

The accused, Jonas Penduvanhu Shinana, is charged with the brutal slaying of six-year-old Matheus Shinana and four-year-old Emilia Naatya Shinana, during December 23-24, 2009 at Erf 1816 Wanaheda, Katutura in the Windhoek District.

He allegedly cut the throats of the minor children and attempted unsuccessfully to commit suicide.

Shinana pleaded not guilty to all charges at the start of his trial in 2013. He claims he was strangled from behind and left unconscious while the throats of his two children were slit.

Defense counsel Bradley Basson who appears on behalf of the alleged child killer argued that Shinana's version could reasonably and possibly be true as there were no other witnesses to what happened.

According to him the whole case of the State rests on circumstantial evidence.

Having regard to the uncertainties and contradictions regarding tampering on the scene, the finding of two padlocks, and also considering that there were no evidence adduced by any State witness that there were fights and or arguments between the accused and his girlfriend, and hence no motive produced for the accused giving rise to the commission of the offences in question, the conclusion cannot be reached by the court that guilt in respect of the murder charges are justified, Basson stated.

He further said that there is no evidence produced by the State that positively identified the accused as the perpetrator as per the indictment.

According to Basson the presumption of the State, that because the accused was found in the shack with the dead children it is likely that he participated in the crimes, cannot hold water as the State must fulfill its inherent obligation to establish its case beyond a reasonable doubt. If only a shadow of a doubt lingers in the mind of the court the accused must be acquitted, Basson stressed.

According to Basson as far as the murder is concerned, there are several hypotheses consistent with the proven facts and inconsistent with the accused person's guilt, one being that there was an unknown person who tried to kill the accused and thereafter killed the deceased children.

State Advocate Palmer Khumalo in his submissions said that although there is no direct evidence that the accused committed the heinous murders, all of the circumstances point to him as the culprit.

The fact that he was found inside the shack that was locked from the inside and the bloodied knife found under him, where he fell when the rope he tried to commit suicide with broke, all point in one direction, that of the accused, Khumalo argued.

He urged the court to draw the only inference there is to draw and convict Shinana on the charges he faces.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia