Murder accused escapes prosecution

By Maria Kandjungu

AN Omusati women, Helvi Ngamine Tamuholoko (57) who stands accused of murdering a pensioner, Emilia Mumbala, three years ago has been declared mentally unfit by the Oshakati High Court and therefore cannot be tried or prosecuted for her deeds.

According to a medical report compiled by state psychiatrist Dr Kishi Mwabene, a panel of experts tasked with the accused’s observation and evaluation found that Tamuholoko was unfit to stand trial and that she is not capable of understanding the court proceedings as to make a proper defence.

“Also, at the time of the commission of the crime, in terms of section 78 [of the criminal procedure Act 51 of 1977] she was not mentally stable, hence she was not capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of her actions,” the reports states.

Tamuholoko an Angolan citizen living in Omusati region was arrested and charged with murder after smashing Mumbala’s head with a rock during an altercation between the two at Olukate in Outapi on December 6 2017.

During her first appearance in 2017, the magistrate observed that the then 55-year-old murder accused was talking to herself and did not seem to understand the proceedings. The magistrate thus referred her for mental observation.

Two years later after numerous postponements, the court declared her a state president patient following a psychiatric report stating that the accused is mentally ill and suffers from schizophrenia.

Subsequently, the court has ordered Tamuholoko to be detained in a mental facility where she is receiving help.

State president patients also referred to as forensic patients are individuals who committed a crime because of their mental defect and, as a result, prosecution cannot be concluded. These patients are sent for treatment and rehabilitation until such a time that the doctors, psychiatrists or social workers treating them observe that they are at an “optimum level”.

This means that when they can function properly and can be sent back into society, a report is then written by the medical team to the judge recommending release of the patient.