The defence counsel of two American citizens accused of the assassin-like murder of Andre Heckmair in Windhoek in January 2011 questioned what they called the total demolition of the Constitutional rights of their clients.
During the cross-examination of inspector Joseph Ndokosho, it came to light that the legal rights of Marcus Thomas and Kevan Townsend were not explained to them, but that Thomas apparently told the officers who arrested him “I am an American, I know my rights, and I’m not talking without a lawyer.”
Salomon Kanyemba and Mbanga Siyomunji, on behalf of Thomas and Townsend, respectively, further questioned why their clients were only charged with the murder nine days after they were first arrested.
The law says that a person must be charged within 48 hours of being arrested. The officer was at pains to explain that the duo was initially arrested on a possession of cannabis charge, and only charged with the murder while in custody on the cannabis charge. The lawyers, however, said that those were lies, and that their instructions are that their clients were interrogated about the murder before they were charged as such.
Judge Christi Liebenberg, who is presiding over the matter, already declared part of the search of the room at the guesthouse admissible and another part inadmissible after a mini-trial on the legality of the search at the guesthouse where the accused were staying when they were arrested, particularly on the items that were seized.
Thomas and Townsend are facing one count of murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, three counts of contravening the Ammunitions Act, and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. The State alleges that they killed Heckmair, who is the son of the owners of the Cattle Baron Steak Ranch, by shooting him in his head on 7 January 2011 at Gusinde Street in Windhoek. It is further alleged that they robbed Heckmair of his cellphone and wallet containing 100 Swiss Franc, and that they imported two 9mm pistol barrels without a permit, or alternatively were in possession of the 9mm barrels without a licence, as well possessing a 7.65mm pistol and ammunition without a licence. It is further alleged that they removed a notebook from police custody after the police seized it as an exhibit and/or burned, destroyed or otherwise disposed of some of the pages in the book with the aim to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. The trial is continuing, and the accused persons are in custody at the trial-awaiting section of the Windhoek Correctional Facility.