The trial of six people accused of having conspired to murder the husband of one of them in March 2015 is due to continue in the Windhoek High Court from the middle of January.
With 17 prosecution witnesses having testified in the trial since it started before acting judge Johanna Salionga on 8 November, the hearing of further testimony was yesterday postponed to 16 January. The trial is scheduled to continue until 16 February, and further court sessions are due to take place from 1 to 9 March and 26 to 29 March.
Acting judge Salionga is expected to continue hearing testimony in a trial-within-a-trial to determine if the prosecution should be allowed to use alleged confessions made by three of the accused as evidence in the trial. Nine witnesses have so far testified in the side hearing, about whether the alleged confessions should be admissible.
Annastancia Lubinda (35), David Matali (47), David Kondjara (36), Abiud Uazeua (37), Donald Hindjou (28) and Dollam Tjitjahuma (29) denied guilt on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances at the start of their trial.
The state alleges that they hatched a plot to murder Lubinda's husband, City of Windhoek employee Peter Riscoh Muleke (36), and that they carried out their plan during the night of 29 to 30 March 2015 by killing Muleke in the Goreangab Dam area of Windhoek. Muleke was allegedly stoned to death before his killers also stole his cellphone and its SIM card.
Lubinda and Hindjou each made an alleged confession to magistrates in Windhoek on 2 April 2015, while a third magistrate recorded an alleged confession by Hindjou on 4 April 2015, and Lubinda made another self-incriminating statement to a senior police officer on 8 May 2015.
Defence lawyers Milton Engelbrecht, Meriam Kenaruzo and Tuna Nhinda, representing Lubinda, Hindjou and Kondjara respectively, have informed the court that their clients dispute that the confessions and other statements recorded after their arrests had been made freely and voluntarily.
According to the three accused, they were not properly informed of their rights, and specifically their rights to have legal representation and that they did not have to incriminate themselves, and were assaulted by police officers before they made the alleged confessions, the three lawyers said.
Engelbrecht also claimed that Lubinda had been influenced by a police officer to make the statements that the prosecution wanted to use as evidence in the trial, while Engelbrecht and Nhinda said Lubinda and Kondjara were not in a sound and sober mind when they made their statements.
All six accused have been in custody since April 2015.
State advocate Marthino Olivier is prosecuting. Defence lawyers Trevor Brockerhoff, Mbanga Siyomunji and Brownell Uirab are representing Matali, Uazeua and Tjitjahuma, respectively.