Namibia: New Date Set for Nimt Murder Trial

THE trial of double murder-accused Ernst Lichtenstrasser, who is being prosecuted over the slaying of the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology's two top executives at Arandis in April 2019, is now scheduled to continue from 27 September.

Lichtenstrasser's trial was postponed in his absence in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions in the Khomas region, detainees are currently not being transported from the Windhoek Correctional Facility, where Lichtenstrasser is being held, to court for their scheduled appearances.

The trial is due to continue during the two weeks from 27 September to 8 October.

Lichtenstrasser (60) is being tried over the murder of Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (Nimt) executive director Eckhart Mueller (72) and his deputy, Heimo Hellwig (60), who were gunned down at the entrance of the institute's head office at Arandis in the Erongo region on the morning of 15 April 2019.

The trial began before judge Christie Liebenberg in February this year, when Lichtenstrasser denied guilt on two counts of murder and charges of the possession of a firearm and ammunition without a licence, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, theft, and the unauthorised supply of a firearm and ammunition.

The state is alleging that Lichtenstrasser, who was employed at Nimt's campus at Tsumeb, had been dissatisfied with a decision to transfer him to the institute's Keetmanshoop campus.

In its indictment, the prosecution is further alleging that Lichtenstrasser had driven from Otavi, where he was living, to the Arandis area on the day before the killings, that he waited for Mueller and Hellwig at Nimt's Arandis head office, and used an illegal 9 mm pistol to shoot both men on their arrival at the office.

After the shooting, Lichtenstrasser allegedly fled in his pickup and drove into the desert, where he is alleged to have buried the murder weapon and ammunition.

He was arrested at Karibib during the evening of 16 April 2019.

Eight prosecution witnesses have testified in the trial so far, with the most recent testimony heard in April.

Deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef is due to present the court with testimony from more state witnesses when the trial continues.

Legal aid lawyer Albert Titus is representing Lichtenstrasser.

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