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Legal aid or cough up… double murder accused told to accept in-house lawyer

2020-12-08  Roland Routh

Legal aid or cough up… double murder accused told to accept in-house lawyer

The Directorate of Legal Aid has refused to instruct Trevor Brockerhoff as the legal representative for double murder accused Ernst Lichtenstrasser. 

According to Shaun Gariseb for legal aid, they have decided that if Lichtenstrasser - the man accused of shooting and killing two top executives of the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) – is not satisfied with the services of in-house lawyer Albert Titus, he must make another plan himself.

The directorate has recently decided not to outsource its functions anymore but make use of its crop of in-house lawyers to defend accused not able to pay for private legal representation.
Lichtenstrasser has refused the services of Titus when his trial was supposed to start in the Windhoek High Court and informed Judge Christie Liebenberg that he will appeal the decision of legal aid not to instruct Brockerhoff as this will set his case backwards. 

According to him, it will not be in the interest of justice for him to start afresh with a new lawyer as Brockerhoff who has been with him since the start knows his case in and out.
Judge Liebenberg, however, said that since legal aid has made their decision, he has no choice but to order that the trial should start on 15 February with Lichtenstrasser set to plead on two counts of murder, two charges of possessing a firearm without a licence, and further charges of possessing ammunition without a licence, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, theft and the unauthorised supply of a firearm and ammunition.

The prosecution alleges that Lichtenstrasser, a former lecturer at the Tsumeb campus of NIMT, shot and killed Eckhardt Mueller and Heinz Heimo Hellwig who were the executive director and deputy director of NIMT respectively at Arandis in April last year. 
Mueller and Hellwig were killed when they were gunned down at the entrance of the NIMT offices at the Erongo mining town.

It is alleged that before the tragic shooting, Lichtenstrasser was employed at the Tsumeb campus of the institution for a couple of years, which was close to his residence at Otavi and was unhappy about a decision to transfer him to the Keetmanshoop campus.

However, it is stated, the two deceased were steadfast in their decision about the transfer despite his remonstrations.
The indictment further reads that Lichtenstrasser and his son went target practising on Saturday 13 April 2019 at a friend’s farm with an unlicensed and illegal 9mm pistol and ammunition. 

It is further stated that the next day, he drove to Arandis where he overnighted in the desert.
During the early morning hours of the next day, he waited for the arrival of the two deceased at the entrance to the NIMT premises at Arandis as it was their habit to drive together to the campus.
Upon their arrival, he fired shots at them with the illegal 9mm pistol and both deceased died at the scene due to injuries sustained by the gunshots.

It is further alleged by the State that Lichtenstrasser then fled the scene and drove into the desert where he disassembled the pistol and buried it together with a holster and 18 live bullets in the ground in an attempt to frustrate the investigation of the murders and to hide or destroy evidence connected to the crimes.

It is further alleged that during 2016, he stole a firearm barrel from a gunsmith’s business premises in Grootfontein. 
During the same year, he was also in unlawful possession of a shotgun and supplied one of his workers with the shotgun and ammunition without the required licence, authorisation or permit.
Lichtenstrasser is currently in police custody and detained at the Windhoek Correctional Facility.
rrouth@nepc.com.na
 


2020-12-08  Roland Routh

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