Wife-shooter to appeal in Supreme Court from prison

 

An Aranos farmer jailed for 10-years for the murder of his wife while drunk failed in his bid to apply for bail pending a Supreme Court appeal and will have to fight for his freedom behind prison walls.

 

Willem Vesagie Barnard was found guilty of shooting his wife at their farm and got sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment of which eight were suspended for five years on condition that he is not convicted of murder committed during the period of suspension.

 

He was refused bail this week by acting High Court Judge Ileni Velikoshi on the condition that his chances of escaping justice were high considering that he had a son in South Africa.

 

“He has the necessary resources to raise finances that would allow him to live a comfortable life elsewhere particularly in South Africa. The applicant is serving a 10-year sentence. Given these factors, the risk of abscondment is real,” said Judge Velikoshi.

 

The Judge also said it would not be in the interest of justice to have him roam free on his farm given the fact that he was found guilty of murder with direct intent.

 

Barnard fought hard for bail citing that he had health complications which needed an urgent operation and that his private doctors refused to conduct it at the Windhoek Correctional Facility because “it was dirty”.

 

He also argued that they refused to have him operated while being guarded at the same time, giving him the option of having to be set free first.

 

Judge Velikoshi came out to rule that the fault was not with the correctional facility but the private practitioners who were discriminating against a sentenced prisoner.

 

Said the Judge, “I find it strange that the private hospitals he prefers do not see his medical condition as exceptional and urgent.”

 

Barnard also insisted that he needed to tend to his farm which was in a state of dilapidation due to poor supervision.

 

He claimed to have lost livestock to theft and drought.

 

 However, fears of the convict fleeing the country were reinforced by his admission that he did not like being in prison, although he would be ready to serve his sentence if found guilty by the Supreme Court.

 

 The Judge said although the innocence of Barnard was about to probed by the highest court, the fact that he was convicted meant that  the law still regarded him as a criminal until the conviction is set aside.

 

He ruled that it was both in the interest of the public and that of the administration of justice that those convicted and sentenced for committing serious violent crimes serve their sentences.

 

“The short of it is that the applicant has failed to show on a balance of probabilities that his admission on bail would not frustrate the interest of the due administration of justice and public interest. The interests of justice require that the applicant prosecutes the appeal whilst in custody,” said the Judge.