High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg yesterday warned a Windhoek man accused of murder to either follow court procedures or be removed from his trial and the trial conducted in his absence.
It will however not be as easy as Gustav Bethuel Romeo Pienaar – the accused - is conducting his own defence after several lawyers withdrew from his case for unrealistic instructions and Legal Aid unable to find a lawyer willing to defend him.
After the last lawyer that was instructed by Legal Aid withdrew, the department informed the judge that no other lawyer was willing to defend Pienaar as word got around about his unrealistic instructions.
Pienaar then indicated to the court that he will represent himself on the charges he faces.
He is accused of killing his girlfriend and mother of his then two-year-old son by stabbing her once on the chest with a knife with a 22cm blade.
Pienaar is charged with one count of murder read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act for stabbing Magde Christina Cloete to death, one count of assault by threat for threatening to kill Hilaria Amukoto and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice for hiding or destroying the knife used to kill the deceased.
He pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial and placed the blame for the stabbing on an eyewitness.
Pienaar did not testify in his own defence, however, during cross examination of the State’s first witness, Dina Smith, his then lawyer Tjingairi Kaurivi told her that his client is saying that she is the one who stabbed the deceased.
Smith told the court that she and her boyfriend were with the deceased, and other friends at a shebeen in Havana location in Katutura drinking when the accused showed up.
According to Smith, the deceased did not want to go home with the accused as she was informed by neighbours that he was with another woman at the shack.
She went on to say that a quarrel then ensued between the two of them and Pienaar grabbed the deceased on her shirt and forced her to go with him.
After about 50 minutes, Smith said, she also left the shebeen and on her way home found the deceased and Pienaar at a bus stop where he was trying to sell a knife to some ladies there.
According to Smith, the deceased called her and said: “Oh Dina, its good that you came, the accused said he will kill me.”
Shortly after that, the witness narrated, the accused came to them and said “are you still here?” and cut the deceased with the knife across her upper chest, grabbed the child and ran away.
According to her, the deceased then fell down next to her without a word and just lay there and the ambulance was called but arrived too late as the deceased died on the scene.
Advocate Marthino Olivier is prosecuting and the case continues. Pienaar remains in custody at the Windhoek Correctional facility’s section for trial awaiting inmates.