Shaningua guilty of murder with intent

Windhoek-Dressed in a dark suit and tie, Rodney Danne Shaningua, 46, listened intently yesterday during the entire reading of the verdict by High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg on the charges brought against him.

Not a flicker of emotion was visible on the face of Shaningua when Judge Liebenberg pronounced him guilty of murder without direct intent and of attempting to defeat the course of justice.

He was charged with murder with direct intent, but the judge said the State did not prove he intended to kill his victim when he pumped nine bullets into the car of Ronni Marco Kristian Uolevi, 42, at around 00h30 during the period August 8 to 9 last year.

Uolevi died instantly at the scene of the shooting outside a popular nightspot along Bell Street in Windhoek's southern industrial area.

Shaningua pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial and claimed he acted in self defense when he fired the shots that killed Uolevi. At the time he said he was frightened and shocked when he was unexpectedly confronted by a Land Rover speeding towards him on the night in question.

According to Shaningwa, the Land Rover driven by Uolevi was approaching him at speed after he had gotten out of his car, following a collision in which the Land Rover had rammed into the rear of his car.

With the intention to stop the Land Rover from running him over, Shaningua said, he took out his revolver � which was holstered on his belt � cocked it and started shooting at the wheels of the Land Rover.

According to the judge, the accused's version as to what happened was totally contradicted by the two eyewitnesses, who testified that the accused had already drawn his firearm when he alighted from his vehicle and not thereafter, as he claimed.

They further disputed that there was an unlawful attack on the accused and that the deceased charged down on the accused with his vehicle, Liebenberg remarked.

He said both [witnesses] described how the accused immediately started shooting at the Discovery [Land Rover] the moment he stepped out of his vehicle.

There had been no reversing, revving of the engine, or screeching of tyres, as testified by the accused, the judge noted.

He said an important aspect of the evidence of the two eyewitnesses is that at no stage was the accused's life in any danger, as the vehicle passed him on the side.

When asked why he did not simply move out of the way of the approaching vehicle, he said everything happened in a split-second and he was overcome with fear, Judge Liebenberg noted.

This notwithstanding, Shaningua managed to move to the other side of the road with relative ease ahead of the fast approaching vehicle and did not elaborate on any of the alternative options open to him.

Both witnesses saw the accused continuously firing at the Discovery, which according to them slowly drove past him. Both said the first shots were fired either in the direction of the tyres or down into the ground, whilst those fired subsequently were aimed directly at the cabin of the vehicle, Liebenberg stated.

According to the judge, he was satisfied that the State had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Shaningua did not act in self defense when he fired the shots that killed Uolevi that night and that the defense he raised was a mere afterthought.

He said he was satisfied that Shaningua acted with intent when he unlawfully fired several shots into the cabin of the deceased's vehicle and thus he found Shaningua guilty of murder with intent � but not with direct intent.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia