Killer fires lawyer after conviction

2014-03-31 00:00

AFTER his conviction for the murder of 69-year-old Mick Hampson of Eston, Jabulani Ngobese (28) on Friday fired his counsel, saying he wanted another lawyer and a new witness to testify about guns.

“I know what my rights are,” he said in the Pietermaritzburg high court.

These protests did not help him as he was jailed for life for the murder of Hampson, who was fatally shot by Ngobese’s erstwhile co-accused Siboniso Mtolo.

Acting Judge Louis Barnard said Ngobese was just as guilty of Hampson’s murder as Mtolo.

Barnard said that it was too late for Ngobese to call a witness; he had been convicted and was due to be sentenced. He said Ngobese could raise those matters in an appeal to the high court.

After a long while, Ngobese agreed to accept back his former counsel, Mahem Rajcumar, who had argued that Ngobese had played a lesser role than Mtolo. Mtolo pleaded guilty to the crimes and was jailed for life by Judge Isaac Madondo on March 14.

Ngobese has steadfastly pleaded not guilty to the crimes and his trial was separated from that of Mtolo.

Ngobese asked why he and Mtolo had been arrested by the Hampsons. Barnard said it was ludicrous to suggest that farmers should not query the presence of trespassers unknown to them or to their workers.

In fact, it was a farmer’s duty to query their presence and to ensure the safety of his family and his staff.

Ngobese had shown no compassion, while a helpless old man who posed no threat to them was killed while fleeing. By Hampson’s murder the community had lost a valuable source of support and advice. Some of the bereaved family had to have psychological counselling. Ngobese had shown no remorse for his crimes.

Sentences of life in jail for murder and 15 years in jail for aggravated robbery were not disproportionate to the effects of the crimes, Barnard said. He also imposed 10 years for the attempted murder of Murray. All sentences run concurrently with the life term.

Koos Marais from the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (KwaNalu) said they were delighted at another severe sentence handed down to another person convicted for a fatal farm attack.

“We trust this will send out a strong message to anyone who believes they can commit crime as they wish. KwaNalu will support any lengthy sentence to act as a strong deterrent.”

Marais said KwaNalu was impressed by the prosecution in this matter.

Ngobese had admitted that he and Mtolo had gone onto the Hampson farm in broad daylight to steal a vehicle, taking knives. He said that he expected to be back at work in Port Shepstone that evening.

Because Mtolo and Ngobese did not leave the farm when confronted by the Hampsons they were told to get onto the back of Mick’s bakkie with Murray, who had a shotgun.

The intruders were told that they were being taken to the police because a neighbouring farm had been burgled.

They pounced on Murray and fought for the gun, the struggle continuing after they fell to the ground.

While Ngobese twice tried to stab Murray, Mtolo managed to wrest the gun from Murray. Mtolo pointed the barrel at Murray’s face and Murray said he saw him squeezing the trigger. The gun did not go off as he had not released the safety catch.

Murray broke free and dashed into a sugar-cane field fearing he would be shot and shouting to Mick to drive off. As Mick took off, Mtolo ran up to him and shot and fatally wounded him. He died at the steering wheel.

Ngobese rifled through Mick’s clothes and took his spectacles.

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