• November 12th, 2019

American to go on murder trial without lawyer



WINDHOEK – Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg yesterday said that American Marcus Thomas, who is accused of the assassin-like murder of Andre Heckmair in Windhoek in 2011, has reached the end of the rope in his quest to delay his trial.

The judge said this when he refused another postponement for Thomas to apply for legal aid after his latest legal aid lawyer, Titus Ipumbu, withdrew from the matter.

He further noted that Thomas is not serious about obtaining legal representation as is evidenced by the string of lawyers he was provided by the Directorate of Legal Aid and their ultimate withdrawal or him terminating their legal services.

The latest withdrawal, Judge Liebenberg said, was brought about solely by the letter written by Thomas in which he misrepresented facts in a fraudulent manner.

The judge further stated that the blame for the unfortunate consequence of the trial proceeding with Thomas unrepresented lies squarely on the shoulders of Thomas himself as the latest stunt is an orchestrated attempt to delay the trial once again.

He ordered the trial to proceed without legal representation for Thomas and said that the circumstances of the state and his co-accused outweigh his right to legal aid by far.

The judge also had a few choice words for the Directorate of Legal Aid and said he expected better from them regarding the fraud committed by Thomas with regard to the letter he wrote pretending it came from Ipumbu.

He further said given their previous stance that Ipumbu was the final lawyer they would provide for Thomas, he is surprised they are considering a replacement for Ipumbu.
The representative of legal aid, Shaun Gariseb, informed the judge they are in consultation with at least two lawyers, one of which has indicated his willingness to accept the instruction, but only after consulting with Thomas.

However, the judge said, whether Thomas gets legal representation in the form of legal aid or private instruction, the lawyer that will come on board will have to familiarise him or herself in their own time and not the court’s time. 

Thomas and his co-accused Kevin Townsend are accused of killing Heckmair with a single gunshot in the back of his head on 7 January 2011 at Gusinde Street in Windhoek and robbing him of his cellphone and wallet containing at 100 Swiss Franc. 

It is further alleged they unlawfully imported two 9mm pistol barrels without a permit or alternatively possessed the 9mm barrels without a licence, and a 7.65mm pistol without a licence and unlawful possession of ammunition. 

They are further charged with intent to defeat or obstruct the course of justice for allegedly removing 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.

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 matter proceeded yesterday afternoon and will continue today and both Thomas and Townsend remain in custody. 
Townsend is represented by Mbanga Siyomunji on private instruction and the state by Advocate Antonia Verhoef. 


Roland Routh
2019-10-30 07:36:28 | 12 days ago

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