26 February 2013

Namibia: Grobler Assault Ruling Deferred

Windhoek — The judgement in the case in which two businessmen stand accused of assaulting a freelance journalist three years ago will be delivered in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court on Friday by magistrate Erich Kesslau.

Initially four accused - David Imbili, Kiriata Kamanya, Desmond Amunyela and Agab Zedekias //Gowaseb - each faced a charge of assault with grievously bodily harm after they allegedly assaulted freelance journalist John Grobler on January 9, 2010 at Pharaoh's Lounge, a bar in Klein Windhoek.

However, Imbili and //Gowaseb were acquitted of the charges last year. The four men had all pleaded not guilty when their trial commenced in July 2011. Grobler alleged he was hit in the face with a glass and kicked and scratched in the face by the accused. He had to have his left ear stitched at Medi-Clinic because of the alleged assault.

Last week, the defence called Imbili to testify on behalf of the remaining two accused Kiriata Kamanya and Desmond Amunyela.

On Monday the defence and the State provided arguments on the sentence to be imposed on the accused.

Imbili testified that before the incident, he knew the complainant Grobler as someone who was a freelance journalist who "targets black successful business people, and with a hatred of whatever is associated with Swapo".

Phineas Nsundano, the prosecutor informed the court that Imbili "failed the defence's case miserably".

The prosecutor said that Imbili testified that he never saw Grobler jumping through the bushes, but saw him running. "In Swapo there is democracy, Swapo does not allow complainants to be attacked in the name of Swapo," the prosecutor said. The prosecutor asked that the two men be convicted of assault with aggravating circumstances.

Sisa Namandje is representing Kamanya and Amunyela. Namandje argued that Grobler was a liar. "He doesn't fear the truth, nor does he fear the oath he has taken," the defence lawyer argued.

Namandje cited as an example how he asked Grobler how he got his pseudonym Jonathan Cobra, under which he used to write at the Windhoek Observer. The defence lawyer said Grobler informed the court he changed his name because 'Wambos' found it difficult to pronounce his last name.

He later made an about turn and claimed that he changed his name because there was a mix-up with his name at a conference in South Africa, Namandje informed the court, drawing laughter from the public gallery. Grobler "does not need to start lying because of Wambos," Namandje added.

He shot down the claim that Grobler was assaulted because of his journalistic work. The defence lawyer said his clients did not commit any offence.

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