Legal Aid has instructed lawyer Titus Ipumbu to take over from Linus Samaria, who withdrew as the legal representative of Andries Afrikaner (39), one of the three men on trial for the murder of an elderly farming couple from Koës in the south.
Ipumbu was, however, not at court last week, and Windhoek High Court Judge Dinnah Usiku ordered that he must be in court and place himself on record if he accepts the instruction at the next court appearance on 6 October.
Samaria withdrew last week when the trial was supposed to resume, citing irreconcilable differences between him and Afrikaner. At the heart of the discontent is a complaint letter against the manner in which prosecutor Marthino Olivier conducts the prosecution.
Afrikaner, together with Julius Frederick Arndt (42) and Johannes Christiaan (38), 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.
According to the State, the accused acted with a common purpose at all material times when they allegedly broke into the house of Gielam and Susara Aletta Botha 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 deceased discovered the theft, they arranged for burglar bars to be installed at their residence. But before that could be done, the accused returned the very next night and gained entry by breaking windows or doors, the indictment reads.
During the ransacking of the 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 rifle that belonged to the deceased. Thereafter, it is said, they raped the elderly woman, or alternatively had intercourse with her dead body after they stabbed her several times and strangled her with a shoelace.
At the start of the trial, the group admitted they were on the farm that fateful night, but they all denied responsibility for the murders.
The indictment further states that the accused, after their alleged dastardly deeds, managed to open the garage door and loaded the stolen property onto the deceased’s motor-vehicle and drove off.
After the gruesome murder was discovered, the police and members of the community launched a massive manhunt, and the trio were arrested within hours.
During their various appearances in the Keetmanshoop Magistrate’s Court, protests were held against the granting of bail to them.
Arndt and Afrikaner are in custody pending trial at the trial-awaiting section of the Windhoek Correctional Facility, while Christiaan is free on bail.
He was granted bail in the Keetmanshoop Magistrate’s Court. Arndt is represented by Titus Mbaeva and Christiaan by Tuna Nhinda, all on instructions of Legal Aid.