No leave to appeal for jailed Schiefer: High Court

WINDHOEK; An application by Romeo Schiefer to be allowed leave to appeal the long prison term he received for killing his parents in in January 2008, has been dismissed.

Schiefer was in October last year sentenced to a 48-year jail term.

His application to be allowed leave to appeal his prison term was dismissed in a judgment handed down by High Court Judge Naomi Shivute here on Tuesday morning.

“The mere possibility that another court might come to a different conclusion is not in itself sufficient to justify the grant of the application to appeal,” Judge Shivute said as she dismissed Schiefer’s application.

She went on to say the applicant must satisfy the court that he has a reasonable prospects of success in another court.

“The applicant failed to satisfy the court to that effect. In the result, the applicant’s application to be allowed leave to appeal his prison term of 48 years is refused,” Shivute stated.

The 25-year-old Schiefer was found guilty on two counts of murdering his biological parents – Frans and Fransiena Schiefer – both 50, at their house in Windhoek’s Khomasdal residential area on 18 January 2008.

On 14 April this year Schiefer, through his State-funded legal representative Advocate Winnie Christiaans, returned to the Windhoek High Court with an urgent application in which he asked the court to be allowed leave to appeal both his conviction and long prison term in the Windhoek Supreme Court.

In the application, he said he feels that there was some misdirection by Judge Shivute in her judgement and at the time of sentencing.

He said the Windhoek Supreme Court may come up with a different conviction and sentence once he is allowed leave to appeal in that court.

In his submissions before court, Christiaans said his client wanted another court to re-look the totality of the evidence presented by some of the State witnesses during the trial.

He also wanted another court to look into the evidence of his confession and other related self-incriminating statements which were ruled admissible before court and which were later used against him during the trial.

Meanwhile, the prosecution, led by State Advocate Palmer Khumalo, said Schiefer’s application does not meet the standard requirements for him to be allowed leave to appeal his conviction and sentence.

“There are no grounds for challenging the evidence of the State witnesses. This application does not meet the standard requirements for the appellant to be allowed leave to appeal. The confession was taken from the appellant after he was fully informed of his constitutional rights to legal representation,” the prosecution stated.

Khumalo added that Schiefer had elected to give his confessions voluntarily without a lawyer.

“The brutal manner in which the offense was committed fits the sentence handed down by the court. Therefore, there is no prospect of success for such an appeal, even in another court,” Khumalo said.

The two counts of murder for which Schiefer was convicted were dealt with by the court in accordance with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act of 2003.

He was found guilty of murder with a direct intent to kill.

He was also found guilty on a lesser charge of theft after an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) bank card belonging to his deceased mother was found in his possession shortly afterwards.

On the first count of murder with a direct intent to kill, Schiefer was sentenced to 28 years imprisonment.

He also got a similar punishment of 28 years on the second count of murder with a direct intent to kill, of which eight years were ordered to run concurrently with the punishment imposed on the first murder count.

On the last count of theft, Schiefer was only warned and cautioned because no withdrawal of money was made from the ATM card.

Schiefer had pleaded not guilty to the two counts of murder and the charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances at the start of his trial in March 2011.

Evidence presented during trial indicated that he murdered his parents by first shooting his father with a firearm, and then stabbing his mother with a knife.

He was arrested by members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol)’s Serious Crime Unit on the same day.

Schiefer and his parents allegedly had a quarrel on the night of the incident at their home.

Apart from the knife, a CZ pistol was also recovered at the scene of the crime.

The couple’s three children were all taken in for questioning on the night of the killings, but the State only laid murder charges against the youngest child, Romeo Schiefer because he was the last person to be seen at the house shortly before his parents’ murder.