SWAKOPMUND – Swakopmund Magistrate Conchita Olivier yesterday dismissed the bail application of Ernst Lichtenstrasser, the main suspect in the murder of Elkhart Mueller and Heimo Hellwig.
Mueller was the executive director of the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (Nimt) while Hellwig was his deputy.
Lichtenstrasser faces at least seven charges, including two counts of murder, defeating the course of justice and illegal possession of a firearm and live ammunition, both without a licence.
Delivering her judgement on the bail application, Olivier said the State presented a strong prima facie case of the callous act, which will see Licthenstrasser serving a long sentence if he is found guilty.
Olivier said the accused may also interfere with the investigation and witnesses.
“The identities of the witnesses are known and one of them is even related to the suspect, and they are concentred about their safety as the suspect has already made threats,” Olivier explained.
As for the minor witness Olivier said the court cannot overlook the fact that the witness is vulnerable and directly related to the suspect, and it will not be in the interest of justice or the public to grant Lichtenstrasser bail.
“The victims were murdered in a violent manner as heard in court during the trial. It was shocking and gruesome and I am of the view that society must be protected against such acts. It will not be in the interest of the court to grant the suspect bail, taking into consideration all evidence presented by the State. Therefore your bail is dismissed,” Olivier said.
Lichtenstrasser’s case was then postponed to September 27 and he will also be transferred to the Windhoek central prison today as the Walvis Bay prison is still under renovation and has space constraints.
Mueller and Hellwig were gunned down around 06h30 on April 15 at the Nimt Arandis campus while reporting for duty.
The Namibian police immediately launched a manhunt for the suspect, resulting in Lichtenstrasser being arrested in Karibib for the illegal possession of ammunition.
While in police custody Lichtenstrasser confessed to the murders, however later withdrew his confession, stating that he was forced by the police to confess.
Eveline de Klerk
2019-07-25 09:33:31 | 11 months ago