Roland Routh WINDHOEK - American national, Marcus Thomas, has now lost his umpteenth lawyer after his latest State funded legal representative, Kadhila Amoomo had to withdraw from the trial due to a conflict of interest. Amoomo informed Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg yesterday he has to withdraw from the trial as he is also representing one of the state witnesses. He only realised the conflict last week when the State availed the list of witnesses to the defence and he realised he had a prior commitment to the state witness. Judge Liebenberg granted the request for withdrawal and postponed the matter to today for the Department of Legal Aid to instruct another lawyer for Thomas. Judge Liebenberg recently dismissed an application by Thomas to recuse himself from the trial for alleged bias. The Supreme Court dismissed the subsequent appeal Thomas lodged against the refusal. Thomas alleged Judge Liebenberg showed bias when he used the words ‘acted’ or ‘acts’ on July 3, 2017 in a ruling to determine the admissibility of two psychiatric reports that declared him fit to stand trial. In the judgment refusing his recusal, Judge Liebenberg stated that his use of the words acted or acts is in line with the findings of the two psychiatrists and in no way indicates that he already found the accused acted in respect of the offences charged. He called the reasons “insignificant, unmeritorious and falling short of meeting established requirements”. Thomas who claimed he suffered a brain injury when he fell from a two-metre fence during a botched escape attempt was declared fit to stand trial in the Windhoek High Court by two psychiatrists after he was sent for successive psychiatric evaluations by the court. He was initially declared unfit by State psychiatrist, Dr Frieda Mthoko because of a neuro cognitive disorder, but he was later found to be malingering by two private psychiatrists, Dr Reinhardt Sieberhagen and Professor Tuviah Zabow from South Africa. Thomas and Kevin Townsend, represented by Mbanga Siyomunji stand accused of killing a Namibian Andre Heckmair. They face 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 they killed Heckmair, who is the son of the owners of the Cattle Baron Steak Ranch, by shooting him assassin style in the back of his head on January 7, 2011 at Gusinde Street in Windhoek and robbed him of his cellphone and wallet containing at 100 Swiss Franc. They also allegedly imported two 9mm pistol barrels without a permit and allegedly possessed a 7.65mm pistol and ammunition without a license. It is further alleged the accused removed a notebook from police custody after the police seized it as an exhibit and/or burned, destroyed or otherwise dispose of some of the pages in the book.
2018-07-24 09:19:15 1 months ago