WINDHOEK: An application for leave to appeal a murder conviction and sentence by a man who in 2010 admitted to killing a South African 4×4 trail enthusiast, was on Monday struck off the Windhoek High Court roll.
Gobabis resident Steve Kaseraera, 30, was sentenced on 01 July 2010 to an effective 46-year jail term after he was found guilty of having killed Jan Hendrik Joubert by High Court Judge Naomi Shivute.
He was convicted on five counts comprising murder with direct intent to kill, robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempting to defeat the ends of justice, as well as illegal possession of a hunting rifle and ammunition.
On Monday, he brought an urgent application before the same judge, asking the court to allow him leave to appeal both his long prison term and the convictions in the Supreme Court.
However, Kaseraera was dealt a heavy blow as the judge ordered that his application for leave to appeal be struck off the court roll, partly because he brought the application too late.
“It was brought before court more than two years and three months from the date of sentencing. The appellant did not properly follow the provisions of the Criminal Procedures’ Act, which stipulate that a convict or convicted persons should lodge an application for leave to appeal within 14 days after sentence was handed down in court,” Judge Shivute explained.
Another determining factor in her decision was the fact that some of the papers Kaseraera brought before court did not contain official date stamps by the Namibian Prisons’ authorities.
Some of the papers also contained date stamps on the wrong pages, the court heard.
As a result of the above-mentioned reasons, Kaseraera was ordered to start preparing his application for leave to appeal anew.
State Advocate Jack Eiseb, who appeared for the prosecution yesterday, advised him to apply to the Justice Ministry’s Directorate of Legal Aid for a State-sponsored lawyer to help him with the preparations of his application for leave to appeal.
On the first count of murder with the direct intent to kill, he was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.
He was sentenced to 20 years on the second count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, of which six years were suspended for a period of five years on condition that he is not found guilty on any charge related to the offence of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
On the third count of attempting to defeat the ends of the administration of justice by dumping the body of the late Joubert in the veld near some cattle posts in the Omaheke Region’s Eiseb Block area, Kaseraera was sentenced to one year in prison.
The sentence on this third count was, however, ordered to run concurrently with the sentence imposed in the first count of murder.
The last two counts of illegal possession of a hunting rifle and ammunition were considered collectively for the purposes of sentencing. On these two counts, he was sent to jail for two years.
Kaseraera was thus jailed for an effective 46 years.
During his pleas of guilt explanation through his State-appointed lawyer Titus Mbaeva, he admitted to having killed the 59-year-old Joubert in Tallismanis, northeast of Gobabis, on 21 June 2006 by shooting him in the chest with a hunting rifle, which he had stolen from his uncle’s house.
“The deceased person was killed in a cold-blooded manner. This was a very senseless killing of an innocent man, who was only on a visiting tour in the country. You have neither respect for human rights, and no respect for Namibian laws. Therefore, you must be sentenced to a long prison term,” Judge Shivute said before sentencing him then.
Evidence before court had it that Kaseraera had also stolen Joubert’s Toyota pick-up, together with computer and satellite navigation equipment, clothing and camping gear.
He later abandoned the pick-up in the bushes near the Epako township in Gobabis.
Kaseraera spent four years in jail awaiting the finalisation of his trial.
He was initially charged in the case with Muuamuhona Karirao.
Karirao’s trial was separated from that of Kaseraera after the latter claimed in court that he was alone when he shot and killed Joubert.