New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Murder and Robbery Trial Postponed

Windhoek — The alleged killers of 78-year-old Gideon 'Koos' Johannes will have to wait another two months for their trial to return to the High Court.

Johannes, in life the father of renowned rugby players André and Leon who played for Namibia during the early post-independence years, was killed at a flat he rented in Cimbebasia.

Judge Alfred Siboleka on Monday postponed the hearing to November 26 until December 14 to give the police enough time to re-arrest 29-year-old George Tjikuao Katjingisua, accused number 2 in the matter. He escaped from lawful custody in July 2011 and is still at large.

State Prosecutor Antonia Verhoef also asked the court for more time to trace certain material witnesses, who have moved to different addresses.

Katjingisua and 27-year-old Nelsiene Utiapatie Kauaria, accused 1, and his younger sibling, 28-year-old Erwin Kasorere Tjiueza Katjingisua, accused 3, are charged with murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances and conspiracy to commit robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The State alleges that the trio during the period August 28 to 29, 2009 killed their victim at his flat at Erf 304, Shilunga Street in Cimbebasia, a residential suburb of Windhoek.

It is further alleged that the accused on August 28 planned to rob the deceased of money and/or valuables by tying him up and wielding dangerous weapons.

It is also alleged that the trio assaulted the victim by hitting and/or kicking him, and/or stabbing him with a knife/knifes and/or tying his hands and feet and stuffing a T-shirt deep into his mouth and with intent to steal took one Tedelex television set, one Panasonic car radio/tape, a Wahl hair clipper and a Nokia cellphone.

It is further alleged that aggravating circumstances were present because the accused were armed with a knife or knives and inflicted grievous bodily injuries to the deceased. It is also alleged in the charge sheet that the accused attempted to steal Johannes's Ford motor vehicle, a grey suit and trousers.

The fourth count constitutes conspiracy to commit robbery with aggravating circumstances.

According to the charge sheet, the accused attacked the deceased at his flat in Cimbebasia and demanded money and keys from him. It is also alleged that they stabbed the deceased several times with a knife/knifes.

The charge sheet says that after the stabbing they tied his hands and feet, gagged him with a T-shirt, then locked him in the bathroom of his flat, where-after they threw the key away.

It is alleged that the deceased died at the scene due to suffocation and injuries sustained as a result of the stab wounds. The charge sheet further states that the accused then ransacked the apartment of the deceased and stole the mentioned items, after which they tried to start the deceased's vehicle by tampering with the wires of the ignition lock.

The State is proposing to call 26 witnesses and alleges that the accused acted with a common purpose at all material times.

During Monday's proceedings the defence counsels for the two accused still in custody, Louis Karsten for accused 1 and Monty Karuaihe for accused 3, strongly objected to the State being granted another postponement.

Both defence counsels lambasted the State for failing to adhere to the set timetable. According to Karsten, his client has been languishing in jail for the past three years and five months, while the police are dragging their feet.

He flatly told Sergeant Kamusuvise that he was not doing his job and that his client was extremely prejudiced by the failure to apprehend the escapee and to trace the absent witnesses.

Karuaihe wanted the court to refer the case back to the pre-trial stage, for the State to get "its house in order", prepare its case and to only proceed when it is ready and to consider giving the remaining accused bail.

He told Judge Siboleka there is no guarantee that the absent accused will be traced and questioned whether the State will be ready to proceed.

Judge Siboleka also joined the fray wanting to know from the prosecution whether they will be ready to proceed on the next Court date, reminding prosecutor Verhoef that, "justice delayed is justice denied".

The judge said it would be grossly unfair to keep the other accused incarcerated indefinitely while the police are looking for the escapee.

Sergeant Kamusuvise could not indicate to the court whether he would be able to re-arrest the escapee, but he had "fresh information" that the escapee is in Namibia and that his arrest "is imminent".

This prompted Judge Siboleka to interject: "The escaped accused is a Namibian, is alleged to be in Namibia, so where is the difficulty in tracing him?"

Judge Siboleka also cautioned prosecutor Verhoef that should it be necessary, she must be willing to consider any eventuality, even a trial separation, should the occasion arise.

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