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Alleged Swakopmund couple killer wants discharge

2022-04-06  Roland Routh

Alleged Swakopmund couple killer wants discharge

One of the men accused of murdering and robbing an elderly Swakopmund couple in 2017 wants the High Court to discharge all the charges against him.

Fabian Hipukuluka Tange-Omwene Lazarus informed Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Monday through his taxpayer-funded lawyer, Milton Engelbrecht that he will apply for his discharge in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which says a court can discharge an accused at the end of the State’s case if no prima facie evidence was adduced against him. 

Engelbrecht argued yesterday that no evidence was provided that his client was either at the scene of the crime or took part in the offences. He said that there is no direct evidence implicating his client and only circumstantial evidence was provided by the State. According to Engelbrecht, there is no prima facie case established against his client and only circumstantial evidence was adduced which is not enough to put him on his defence. 

Tjingairi Kaurivi, on behalf of his co-accused Simon Shidute Jerobeam (26) did not apply for discharge, but told this reporter on the sidelines that he will not be calling any witnesses. In a plea explanation, Lazarus admitted that he was at the crime scene on the day in question; but that it was only to steal money and that, nobody was supposed to be hurt. He also admitted that he stole a camera lens, but denied breaking into the house as he said the door was open.

Timo Itula, on behalf of the State, argued that the State proved a prima facie case against Lazarus and that he has answers to provide. He said the question of how the safe key of the deceased which was stolen when the deceased moved to Swakopmund from Walvis Bay and which the accused admitted he stole ended up next to the safe after the robbery and murder as well as the DNA of the accused found on sandals belonging to the female deceased are such questions that need answers. He further said that the warning statement taken from the accused also bears questions that need answers. He asked the court to put Lazarus on his defence on those questions.

Both accused pleaded not guilty at the start of their trial.

They are charged with two murder counts, a count of housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery, theft, conspiracy to commit housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances and/or murder and defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

It is alleged by the State that they broke into the house of 81-year-old Siegfried and 79-year-old Sieglinde Strzelecki in Swakopmund, with the aim to rob the elderly couple and in the process killed Sieglinde by strangulation and caused Siegfried to die eight days later in a frail care home.

The accused remain in custody at the section for trial awaiting inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility.

Judge Liebenberg will deliver his ruling on the application today at 10h00. -

2022-04-06  Roland Routh

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