Criminal Law – In our criminal justice system an accused’s guilt must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
The respondent, a former Head of the Legal Department at Santam, Namibia, was charged with twenty nine counts of fraud; the same number of counts as first alternative counts of theft by false pretenses; and the same number of counts as second alternative counts of theft. She was acquitted on counts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15 16, 17,18, 23, 24 and 28 respectively. The Applicant now applies for an application for leave to appeal the acquittals.
Held: Respondent was correctly acquitted on the aforestated counts as a result of the reasonable doubt that was not displaced by the prosecution witnesses.
Held: Not all the alleged beneficiaries on the various claims testified and neither was there evidence to show that they don’t exist and therefore fictitious.
Held: No proof was placed before court to show that payments were made in full and final settlement on the claims related to the acquittals in order to make further payments on them misplaced and therefore fraudulent.
Held: The court’s reference to the respondent’s fraudulent mindset in its judgment cannot be understood to mean she was guilty as charged on all counts that were preferred against her.