Roland Routh Windhoek-Judge Dinah Usiku this week indicated she will be ready to rule on October 9 on the admissibility of a confession and guilty plea that Willem Freddy Eksteen, 20, made to a magistrate in Keetmanshoop after his arrest. A Section 119 plea is when an accused pleads to a charge in the magistrate’s court and the docket is sent to the prosecutor general for a decision on what charge (s) and in what court he/she is to be tried. During the Section 119 plea an accused will be informed of his rights and asked whether or not he/she understands the charge against him/her, and if he/she was in any manner influenced to make such a plea. During the Section 119 plea in Keetmanshoop on September 25, 2014 Eksteen pleaded guilty to the charge of murder. It is alleged by the State that he strangled Janetta Babiep, 19, with whom he was in a romantic relationship and had a child, with a nylon rope during the period September 21 to 22, 2014 at a farm near Aroab. He now disputes that plea and said he was unduly coerced to make the plea as well as the confession by Chief Inspector Kauhanda. According to him things already started the night he was arrested when Kauhanda told him what to say when he spoke to the magistrate. According to Eksteen, the chief told him that when the magistrate asks him if he needs a lawyer, he should say he will defend himself and when the magistrate asks what he intends to plea he must say guilty, and when the magistrate asks if he was unduly influenced he should say no, he is making the plea and/or confession out of his own free will. He further told the court that when Kauhanda drove him to Keetmanshoop on September 23 he repeated the instructions. “I was afraid that if I do not do exactly as Kauhanda instructed me, he would get mad and do something to me. I was afraid of him as this was my first interaction with the police,” Eksteen told Judge Usiku. He went on to say that when they arrived at the office of the magistrate Anthony Shapumba in Keetmanshoop to make the confession, Kauhanda went in and stayed in the office while the confession was being taken down. Milton Engelbrecht, the legal aid lawyer of Eksteen, had a field day with this information, saying it already is an indication that the confession was obtained under duress. According to him it is reason enough to trash it. With regard to the Section 119 plea, Eksteen said Kauhanda was present on the first day he appeared, September 24, 2014 and that when he returned to court the next day for the plea, Kauhanda came to the cells that morning to make sure he knew he was there. According to him the court orderly he only identified as Sergeant Hein told him on the morning of September 25, 2014 that he should not listen to “these guys” – as he referred to Kauhanda – and should inform the magistrate he wants legal aid. He said that was just what he did when he entered the accused box at the court, but the magistrate told him he can only apply for legal aid after the Section 119 plea was done. This was another bone of contention for Engelbrecht, who said it is highly unethical and in fact unlawful for a magistrate to record a 119 plea where an accused person indicates that he wants to apply for legal aid. The State is represented by Advocate Felicitas Shikerete-Vendura and Eksteen is free on a warning.
New Era Reporter
2017-09-15 11:50:08 2 years ago