21 November 2012

Namibia: More Admissions in Double Murder Trial

While still maintaining that the contents of her third statement are essentially the truth, a State witness on Monday admitted she may have got it wrong.

Albertina Swartbooi, who claims to have been present at the murders of Klaas 'Buruxab' Titus (40) and John 'Jerry' McNab (39) during the period of July 16-18, 2005 in the Mariental district was on the stand under cross-examination for the third day.

Last week Friday her testimony had to be discontinued when she suddenly complained of pains in her heart after rigorous cross-examination from Winnie Christiaans, who is representing Johannes Eichab (Accused 2).

During Monday's court session Swartbooi at times became aggressive, causing Christiaans to ask Judge Naomi Shivute to caution the witness to answer his questions, and also questioned her sobriety.

The two men, Raynoldt (Jackie) Windstaan and Johannes Eichab are accused of killing Titus and McNab and dumping their bodies into a disused well at a farm near Kalkrand.

While in her statement Swartbooi said Buruxab was hit twice with a tyre lever, on Monday she corrected herself and told the court that the first blow cracked open his skull and that he just lay very still.

She could not say whether he was dead or alive. She also said that 'Jackie' then went and washed the blood off the tyre lever before he went into the kitchen to fetch a knife, something she did not mention in her statement at all.

The witness further claimed that 'Jerry' was stabbed only once, while in her statement she mentioned that he was allegedly stabbed three times.

When asked about these discrepancies in her testimonies, she said she was very troubled at the time and could not think clearly. Pressed on why she was troubled, she explained that she was very emotional because of what had happened. Christiaans continued to cross-examine the witness until in the afternoon.

Windstaan and Eichab face charges of murder and defeating or obstructing, or attempting to defeat the course of justice. Both men pleaded not guilty to all charges at the start of their trial.

Windstaan is represented by Titus Mbaeva, while Eichab obtained the services of Advocate Winnie Christiaans, both on the ticket of the Directorate of Legal Aid.

Judge Naomi Shivute is on the bench, while Deputy Prosecutor General Erich Moyo is prosecuting. Both men remain in custody.

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