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Global Fund shooter unfit to stand trial

2020-10-27  Roland Routh

Global Fund shooter unfit to stand trial
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Two psychiatrists diagnosed the man responsible for killing his immediate boss and wounding a colleague at their workplace with severe schizophrenia and declared him unfit to stand trial.
Private psychiatrist Reinhardt Sieberhagen and State psychiatrist Lahija Hamunyela both said Simataa Merlvin Simasiku (34) was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions when he fired the shots that ended the life of Sarah Lungowe Mwilima and seriously wounding Ester Ndahekelekwa Nepolo, his colleague, in January 2019.

They also agreed Simasiku suffered from grandiose delusions to the extent that he would rather defend his delusions instead of focusing on his defence.
Both mental health experts concluded that Simasiku is not fit to stand trial and is incapable of understanding the court proceedings to make a proper defence.
Sieberhagen further stated that Simasiku’s insight into his condition is so poor and his delusions so fixed that he is unable to give rational instructions to his legal representative. 

In fact, Sieberhagen said, he opposes his legal representative’s efforts and he attempts to defend his delusions rather than his case.
Both doctors also mentioned that Simasiku was obsessed about money he alleged to have received from overseas and about voices that spoke to him. He also mentioned that his late director made fun of him.

On the day in question, Simasiku told the doctors, he was refused a loan at his bank and he could hear the director’s voice in his ear taunting and teasing him and he shot her because she humiliated him.  
Deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef accepted the findings of the psychiatrists but asked the court to direct that Simasiku be detained at a correctional facility instead of the Windhoek Mental Hospital, which, in her opinion, is not secure at all.

She said the family of the victim and former colleagues of Simasiku have expressed the fear he might be coming after them next if he is not in a secure facility. Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg however told Verhoef that he is not inclined to direct the health authorities were to detain Simasiku but he mentioned that mentally ill convicts are held at either Gobabis Prison or Oluno Prison.
Simasiku, for his part, did not take his diagnosis on the cuff. He repeatedly interjected while Liebenberg was engaging the lawyers, insisting he is normal and that he wants to defend his case. He also accused his State-funded lawyer Vernon Lutibezi of twisting his words to have him committed in a mental institution.

Liebenberg committed Simasiku to a mental health facility or detention centre until he is certified fit not to hurt himself or any other person.
Simasiku was charged with one count of murder and one count of attempted murder alternatively negligent discharge of a firearm and discharging of a firearm in public.
The charges emanate from a shooting incident on 28 January last year when Simasiku walked into the offices of Global Fund at the City Centre. During a subsequent bail application, Simasiku said he acted in self-defence when he fired the shots, but stopped short of explaining, only saying: “The truth will be revealed during the trial”. 

According to the summary of substantial facts in the indictment, the accused went to his workplace on the second floor of the City Centre Building, armed with a pistol and seven live rounds. 
Thereafter, he went to the eighth floor where Mwilima and Nepolo had their offices and fired at least three to four shots at Mwilima, which struck her in the chest, neck and arm, causing her to die on the scene due to the injuries sustained from the gunshots, it is stated.

He then fired one shot at Nepolo, which struck her in the neck and he then left the scene, collected his child at daycare and took the child to his residence, the indictment further reads. It is further stated that Simasiku then drove to a police station, where he reported the shooting and handed his firearm, holster, two bullets and his firearm licence to the police.
The State is further saying that Simasiku had no justifiable reasons to discharge his firearm in public. 

2020-10-27  Roland Routh

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