Windhoek High Court Judge Claudia Claasen has refused to grant bail to one of the three men, who are charged with the brutal murder of elderly farmers Gielam Botha (78) and his wife, 80-year-old Susara Aletta at their farm Lindeshof near Köes in the Keetmanshoop District.
Julius Frederick Arndt (42) lodged an urgent bail application in the Windhoek High Court before Judge Claudia Claasen in March this year.
His co-accused Andries Afrikaner (38) also lodged a bail application but abandoned the effort before the hearing resumed. Their co-accused Johannes Christiaan (38) was granted bail in the Keetmanshoop Magistrate, but he was re-arrested on a charge of stock-theft a month after his release. He, therefore, remains in custody.
The accused persons face two counts of murder, two counts of housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances, one count of rape alternatively violating a dead body, conspiracy to commit robbery with aggravating circumstances and/or murder and/or rape and housebreaking with intent to steal, and theft. It is alleged the three broke into the house of the victims during the late-night hours of 1 February 2018 and stole at least N$550 cash, one measuring tape, an electrical plug, a tire gauge and a bulb. After the victims discovered the theft, they arranged for burglar bars to be installed at their residence, but before this could be done, the accused returned the following night and gained entrance by breaking open windows or doors, the indictment read.
During the ransacking of their residence, it is alleged, they came across the elderly couple and murdered Gielam by hitting him with a piece of iron and shooting him in the mouth with a .22 rifle that belonged to him. Thereafter, it is said, they raped the elderly woman or alternatively had intercourse with her dead body after they had stabbed her several times and strangled her with a shoe-lace.
The indictment further states the accused, after committing the dastardly deeds, they managed to open the garage door and loaded the stolen property onto the motor vehicle of the victims and drove off. According to the State, the accused acted with a common purpose at all material times. After the gruesome murder was discovered, the police and members of the community launched a massive manhunt and they were arrested within hours of the discovery of the couple’s murder. Claasen said the State put forth enough evidence during the bail hearing to establish a prima facie case and it would, thus, not be in the interest of the public or the administration of justice to grant the accused bail. “I am satisfied that the State has a prima facie case against the applicant. That gives rise to a likelihood of conviction and lengthy imprisonment, which induces the applicant to evade trial. If I consider these factors with the applicant’s less than the honest approach in the evidence. In my view, there is a real likelihood that the applicant may evade his trial,” the judge remarked. She said the court is entitled to refuse bail in respect of certain offences and this one such case.
Arndt is represented by Titus Mbaeva on instructions of the Directorate of Legal Aid and the prosecution is represented by State Advocate Cliff Lutibezi.