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Judge dismisses application for discharge

2022-04-07  Roland Routh

Judge dismisses application for discharge

Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg yesterday dismissed an application by Fabian Hipukuluka Tange-Omwene Lazarus, who is accused of killing elderly Swakopmund couple Siegfried (81) and Sieglinde Strzelecki (79). 

Lazarus applied for a section 174 discharge after the State closed its case against, him saying the State did not establish a prima facie case against him. 

Judge Liebenberg, however, disagreed and said evidence was presented that established a direct link between the accused and the crime scene. 

“With regards to DNA evidence and counsel’s contention that DNA evidence did not link the accused to the crime scene, defence counsel was at a loss to shed any light on the finding of the accused’s DNA on Adidas flip-flops, positively identified to be that of the deceased, but subsequently found in possession of Daniel,” the judge stated. 

“This evidence, alone, establishes a direct link between the crime scene, Daniel and accused 2 – evidence which, as yet, has not been refuted. I pause to observe that the absence of Daniel from the current proceedings, due to him having absconded, does not detract from the veracity of evidence, showing a connection between him and accused 2.” 

Lazarus, during his evidence in defence, tried to explain the presence of his DNA on the flip-flops. 

According to him, while they were assisting the couple during their move from Walvis Bay to Swakopmund, he packed loose items, including the flip-flops in a box. 

The judge further stated the evidence presented so far is indicative of the hatching of a plan between Daniel and accused 2 to steal money from the safe of the victims. 

This envisaged the unlawful entry into their house at a time they were present, the judge said. 

He further said this implies any resistance, whether foreseen or not, was likely to be dealt with and overcome at the moment – this much is evident from the fact that the two victims were overwhelmed and which resulted in the death of the elderly lady. 

“The presence of the DNA of accused 2 found on the flip-flops of the deceased and in possession of Daniel after the incident tends to support the State’s argument that he was directly involved in the commission of the crimes – all of which are closely linked, the judge added. 

In his defence, Lazarus denied any involvement in the commission of the offences and claimed he was asleep in his shack from 22h00 the previous night until the police woke him at around 09h00 the next morning. 

He said he will call his girlfriend, who was with him, as a witness. 

His co-accused Simon Shidute Jerobeam (31) did not testify in his own defence and made use of his right to remain silent. 

In a plea explanation, he admitted he was at the crime scene on the day in question, but that it was only to steal money and that nobody was supposed to be hurt. 

He also admitted he stole a camera lens, but denied breaking into the house, as he said the door was open. 

They are charged with two murder counts, a count of housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery, theft, conspiracy to commit housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances and/or murder and defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. 

It is alleged by the State that they broke into the house of the Strzelecki’s in Swakopmund during the early morning of 2 August 2017 to rob the elderly couple, and in the process killed Sieglinde by strangulation and caused Siegfried to die eight days later in a frail care home. 

Both accused pleaded not guilty at the start of their trial. 

The accused remain in custody at the section for trial awaiting inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility. 

Milton Engelbrecht appeared on behalf of Lazarus, Tjingairi Kaurivi represents Jerobeam and Timo Itula the State.



2022-04-07  Roland Routh

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