Namibian Supreme Court

Former top Namibian judge, cleared on all sexual misdemeanor counts by the Supreme Court, now wants to sue

AFTER one of the most lengthy and grueling trials in Namibian history, former Supreme Court judge Pio Teek has finally been acquitted on all counts of sexual misbehavior first laid against him in January 2005. This week’s Supreme Court decision clearing him completely pointed out examples of shoddy work in the case by police investigators and others, and warned that the “systemic failures” evident in the case brought the system of criminal justice into disrepute. It could result “in a travesty of justice”, said the judges.

Read the judgment here on NamibLII

AS was only proper, the final stage of former judge Pio Teek’s case was heard by three senior judges from outside Namibia. Two of the bench, Judges Bess Nkabinde and Yvonne Mokgoro are former members of SA’s highest court, and the third, Judge Maruping Dibotelo, retired as Botswana’s chief justice earlier this year.

Communal land victory confirms state’s ‘social obligations'

In an important decision clarifying the law for people claiming rights over communal land, Namibia’s highest court has found in favour of a woman in the remote Zambezi region. Agnes Kashela claimed she had inherited the right to part of the communal land held by the Mafwe Traditional Authority. At independence however all communal land became the property of the state, and part of the Mafwe land had been transferred to the local town council at Katima Mulilo.

Read judgment here

This article first appeared in Legalbrief

Namibian Supreme Court outlaws ultra-long prison sentences

In an important new decision, Namibia’s highest court has held that judges in that country may not impose jail terms that are “longer than a life sentence”. Prisoners serving life may be considered for possible parole after 25 years, and the supreme court has now held that any sentence in which parole is not at least notionally possible after 25 years, would be unconstitutional. The court was dealing with an appeal in which a trial court had imposed sentences of well over 60 years.

CARMEL RICKARD

NAMIBIAN judges may no longer impose extremely long jail terms that leave a prisoner worse off than under a conventional life sentence. The country’s top court has found it unconstitutional to hand down “informal life sentences”, via jail terms that are so long that offenders have no possible hope of ever being released before they die.

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