A group accused of allegedly breaking into the Katutura Magistrate’s Court in July last year will be going on trial next year. Andrew David, Edison Witbooi, Mervin Haiduwa and Raphael Batista were informed by Katutura magistrate Niinja Hochobes that they will be tried on 17 February 2023.
During their appearance, David, who was granted bail of N$1 500 last year, pleaded with the court to consider reducing it. He said he could not afford to pay that amount, and the court then set his bail at N$800. However, the State strongly objected for Haiduwa to be released on bail, citing that he is a flight risk.
Batista and Witbooi are on bail of N$3 000 each. The group is expected to go on trial on two counts of housebreaking with the intent to steal, and a count of possession of stolen property. They were arrested on 25 July 2021, following a rigorous search from 24 July last year when court officials discovered that unknown suspects had entered the courtyard by climbing over a wall, damaging the glass door, and gaining access to the entire building.
The suspects further broke into seven offices, where they stole three laptops of magistrates and that of a public prosecutor, as well as one computer monitor and CPU.
A knife and kettle were found abandoned in the same building corridors during investigations. CCTV footage showed how two unknown suspects with balaclavas entered the yard. The suspects also used the chairs in the court corridors to climb on and damage the offices’ windows, where they gained entry.
Police reports at the time stated that the suspects broke into the court building on 24 July 2021, and returned the following day. An operation was carried out, but the suspects could not be traced nor apprehended. However, in the early hours of 25 July 2021, the police, who were on the scene after a patrol of Windhoek’s streets, saw a suspect on the roof of the courthouse, attempting to flee.
During the accused’s first court appearance, David informed the court that his co-accused, Witbooi and Batista, had nothing to do with the break-in at the court, and that they were only buyers of the goods.