Namibian farmer jailed 3 years for accidentally shooting a poacher

abattoirs; murder; farmer; poacher; land

A Namibian court has sentenced a farmer to 3 years in prison following his conviction for culpable homicide in connection with the accidental shooting of a poacher in January 2016.

Kai Rust was charged with 1 count of murder and 3 counts of attempted murder for killing 1 of 4 poachers whom he found skinning a kudu on his father’s property.

It is the State case that on 27 January 2016, Rust shot Andreas Ukandanga, at the farm in the Okahandja area. He was arrested on the same day and detained until July 2017, when he was granted a bail of N$40 000.

According to court papers, the deceased was struck by a ricocheting bullet, which Rust claimed to have fired with the intention of shooting a dog he came across while on patrol.

In his plea, Rust said he was not aware, and did not think there could have been humans within the vicinity of the dog. He said it was only after the shot that he saw 3 people running away.

On inspecting the scene, he found the deceased slumped behind a rock. He then discovered that there the 4 were poachers who had killed a kudu. They were in the process of skinning the animal when he fired.

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The bullet missed the dog, hit a rock and ricocheted fatally into the deceased. The magistrate acquitted Rust on 1 count of murder and all 3 charges of attempted murder. However, she convicted him on a lesser charge of culpable homicide arising from negligence.

The magistrate said although the farmer had proved that he never intended to kill the poachers, he acted negligently when he tried to shoot a dog in a situation where the possibility of human presence was foreseeable.

He was sentenced to a total of 5 year jail sentence, but 2 years were suspended on condition that he does not commit the crime of culpable homicide over the next 5 years.

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