21 November 2012

Namibia: Court to Mull Murder Confession

Judge Alfred Siboleka on Monday reserved judgement on whether or not a confession allegedly made by a retired schoolteacher, who stands accused of having murdered his wife three years ago in Keetmanshoop, could be used as evidence in the ongoing trial. The matter resumed in the High Court on Monday.

The accused, former schoolteacher David de Jay (61) has denied he ever confessed to the murder.

De Jay has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and defeating or obstructing the course of justice, or attempting to do so.

The case resumed on Tuesday, with a trial-within-a-trial on whether the confession made by De Jay can be accepted as evidence.

The defence objected to the alleged confession and the letter written by De Jay being accepted as evidence in the ongoing trial. The defence claims that De Jay only wrote the letter under 'coercive circumstances' involving assaults and threats by police officers.

De Jay wrote the letter five days after his arrest, and confessed before a magistrate in Keetmanshoop on March 11, 2009, it is alleged.

Last week Deputy Commissioner Sydney Philander testified that De Jay came to see him, after a request to that effect. Philander informed the court that the accused requested a pen and a paper to write a letter.

Philander was a regional crime coordinator in the Karas Region at the time.

Philander said the accused said he wanted to make a confession in front of a magistrate. The accused was then ordered to fill in a statement, informing him about his legal rights.

Defence lawyer Boris Isaacks wanted to know whether it is common when a prisoner wanted to write a letter, that he or she would go to the chief of the investigators.

Philander replied that he was a servant of the people and ran a public office and that is why he granted the request.

De Jay is accused of murdering his wife, Tina de Jay (56), who worked as an insurance agent, near Seeheim, southwest of Keetmanshoop on February 13, 2009. She was stabbed at least six times with a knife.

De Jay claims the death of his wife was caused by unknown people during a robbery.

Palmer Khumalo is appearing for the State. The matter continues.

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