Shannon’s family disappointed with acquital ruling …Prosecution failed to prove guilt

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Emotions ran high at the Windhoek High Court yesterday, after the court acquitted siblings Azaan Madisia and Steven Malundu in the murder of Shannon Wasserfall. Her family has since expressed that they would appeal the ruling by Judge Christie Liebenberg, who only convicted the siblings on the charge of Defeating the course of Justice.

Shortly after the ruling, the deceased family members, visibly emotional said that the justice system has failed the family.

Judge Liebenberg found that the state did not lead evidence in proving the murder and robbery charges and based its case on conflicting statements made by Madisia and Malundu during the police investigation.

Madisia, aged 31, has also been found guilty of fraud. Dennis Wasserfall who spoke on behalf of Shannon’s family also expressed that the judgment was marred with corruption and questioned it’s credibility,saying it is unfair.

“What happened today is so heartbreaking honestly, it is clear to us that the justice system in Namibia is flawed. Such a judgement by Judge Liebenberg is very unfair. These are cold-blooded murderers and they planned it all along. For six months we were looking for our child. For the court to now decide they are not charging those kids with murder is truly heartbreaking and a miscarriage of Justice. We are angry. This is straight up corruption going on, maybe they put some money under the table. Why can they not be charged with murder? President Hage Geingob. Intervene,”he said.

“As a family, we just wanted justice as we don’t even know what happened on that fateful day. We are not going to leave it here and we will make sure that Shannon gets justice. Those two siblings are cold-blooded murderers including their family. They all know what happened to Shannon,” he added. In addition, Liebenberg said the state could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Madisia intentionally murdered Shannon.

“It was further submitted that the state thus failed beyond reasonable doubt that Madisia intentionally and unlawfully caused the deceased’s death, it was neither caused through any negligence on her part as she had not foreseen the ensuing death when pushing the deceased away from her,” he stated.

During her testimony, Madisia claimed she never intended to harm or kill Wasserfall. According to Madisia, Wasserfall died after she had hit her head against a wall and she fell over a bed in Madisia’s flat, where the two of them had been involved in a physical altercation.

Moreover, Judge Liebenberg said the body of Wasserfall was in an advanced stage of decomposition when it was discovered, therefore the cause of death could not be determined. Madisia, who was arrested in 2021 after the remains of Wasserfall were found buried in a shallow grave close to the Dunes Mall at Walvis Bay, faced a total four charges; murder, defeating the course of justice, fraud and theft.

Mulundu handed himself over to the police shortly after his sister’s arrest.

Wasserfall’s remains were ultimately found in October 2021 after an anonymous message was sent with the exact location of her shallow grave to her father and the police.

In acquiting the duo on the robbery charge, the court found that Madisia discarded Wasserfall’s belongings but had no intention of keeping any of them for herself.

The case has been postponed to today for sentencing mitigation. The siblings will explain to the court why a lenient sentence should be given to them. The state will also submit the aggravating factors.

Prosecutor Henry Muhongo is representing the state.

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