Mlimi Elrico Phike, 30, who was earlier this month found guilty of murdering Andre Coby van Staden by stabbing him seven times at a tavern in Prieska on June 25 last year, appeared in the Northern Cape High Court on Tuesday, where closing arguments by his defence and the State were heard.
On June 13, 2018, acting Northern Cape High Court Judge Livhuwani Vuma found Phike guilty of murder with direct intent (dolus directus) following the incident at Queens Tavern in Prieska, where Phike killed his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend (Van Staden).
During the judgment, Vuma found that the nature of the injuries incurred and the sheer number of stab wounds inflicted on Van Staden showed that Phike intended to kill him.
She also found Phike’s testimony “not possibly true” and rejected his version of events, while adding that the evidence with regard to the circumstances of the incident proved murder was committed.
During yesterday’s closing arguments, Phike’s legal representative, advocate Elroy Kammies, submitted that his client was “not an inherently bad person” and “could be rehabilitated”.
Kammies added that the permanent removal of Phike from society, during a lengthy imprisonment period, would be “unjust” in the circumstances and said his client’s personal circumstances were proof of substantial and compelling circumstances for the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence (15 years) required for a first offender convicted of murder dolus directus.
In turn, the State prosecutor, advocate Keageletse Ilanga, argued that being incarcerated would not mean that Phike would be permanently taken away from his family, as they would still be able to see and speak with him during visits to the prison.
She added that this would not be the case with Van Staden’s family, who would never be able to see him or hear his voice again and that his death had left them “devastated” and condemned to a “life of pain”.
Ilanga further submitted that even taken cumulatively, Phike’s personal circumstances were “just ordinary circumstances” and did not substantiate compelling and substantial circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence and submitted that it was in the court’s jurisdiction to impose a sentence exceeding 15 years.
Vuma is expected to deliver sentence on Thursday.