Court rejects abuse claim by man who killed wife

Court rejects  abuse claim by man who killed wife

The 32-year old Kaxui Katjivi, who was convicted of murder with direct intent by Judge Christi Liebenberg in the Windhoek High Court, will be sentenced on September 9, the judge said yesterday after hearing submissions on the sentence to be imposed.

Judge Liebenberg convicted Katjivi for the murder by multiple stabbing of Dina Anton with a knife at Otjinene in the Gobabis District on July 31, 2014. The judge also found that contrary to Katjivi’s plea before the court, Anton was murdered to prevent her from leaving Katjivi.

Katjivi admitted to killing his wife, Dina Anton, but in fact pleaded not guilty, saying the killing was a result of sustained verbal abuse by the wife and, on the day of the murder, a daring provocation from the wife and her sister Bertha Tlao Eises.

Judge Liebenberg however found that there was no provocation and that the evidence of the two state witnesses – whose testimony was credible and to the point – clearly rebutted the evidence of Katjivi about the provocation.

Katjivi was also convicted on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and a further count of assault for attempting to stab Alfeus Katai Haurumbu, who tried to come to the aid of Anton, and for pushing Eises out of his house, causing her minor injuries.

In mitigation of sentence Afrika Jantjies who represents Katjivi on instructions from the Department of Legal Aid told the court that while the murder was committed in a callous and cowardly manner, Katjivi should not be made the scapegoat of all those guilty of committing heinous crimes within a domestic set-up.

He said an appropriate sentence must reflect a balance struck between competing factors such as the interest of society, the seriousness of the offence and the accused’s personal circumstances and moral blameworthiness. He said Katjivi took the court into his confidence when he testified in his own defence and expressed genuine remorse for his conduct, and this should count in his favour.

The court however reminded Jantjies that Katjivi did try to put the blame for the murder on the so-called provocation he endured at the hands of his wife and Eises.

Jantjies was in acknowledgement but also reminded the court that Katjivi admitted all the elements of the offences and was prepared to plead guilty to the offences. He asked the court to consider a sentence of 20-25 years on murder and 12 months and six months wholly suspended on the assault charges.

Deputy Prosecutor General Advocate Antonia Verhoef for the State argued that in the present case the personal circumstances of Katjivi are relevant as it is fairly certain that he will receive a long term of incarceration. She said his utterances of contrition are rather after the fact, as he knew the consequences of his actions as demonstrated in his plea.

She reminded the court of various judgments where first time offenders of murder in a domestic setting received sentences in excess of 30 years and said those set the guidelines for sentences in such matters.

According to Verhoef, the court should follow these guidelines when deciding on an appropriate sentence for Katjivi.

She said it was just another “senseless murder” for no other reason than the deceased wanted to end an abusive relationship. While its case must be weighed on its own circumstances, she said, the guidelines are there for the courts to follow for the sake of uniformity in sentencing.

Advocate Verhoef asked the court for a sentence in the region of 30 to 35 years for the murder and sentences of two years and twelve months for the convictions on the assault charges.

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