Defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji has succeeded in convincing Windhoek High Court Judge Claudia Claasen to grant his client and murder accused Abraham Maasdorp bail on stringent conditions.
Siyomunji argued strongly in the bail hearing that the 21-year-old Maasdorp is not a flight risk as he has never been away from the area he grew up and would not interfere with State witnesses.
Siyomunji said that although the investigating officer had a suspicion that Maasdorp will interfere with State witnesses, he could not substantiate it with concrete evidence.
He further submitted that there was no evidence to demonstrate that the State has a prima facie case against the applicant or that he is a danger to society at all.
Maasdorp is accused of murdering his 10-week pregnant girlfriend by stabbing her once in the chest, causing her to succumb 11 days later.
It is alleged by the State that he stabbed Magda van Wyk (20) on 2 August 2019, causing her to die in the Katutura State hospital on 13 August 2019.
He is also charged with a count of defeating the course of justice for allegedly disposing of the knife he used to stab the deceased.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges when his trial started on Monday this week and indicated that he will not give a witness statement, but put the onus on the State to prove each and every charge.
It, however, emerged during the bail application that his version is that he did not stab the deceased, but that she was already stabbed when he arrived at the shebeen.
He told the court that the deceased told him she was stabbed when she tried to stop a fight between people behind the shebeen.
She showed him a small stab wound on her left breast and he took her to the clinic where they did not stitch the wound, but only put a plaster on it and sent her home, he stated.
The State, however, claim that the deceased herself told State witnesses that it was indeed the accused who stabbed her and that it was in fact not him, but an aunt of the deceased who took her to the clinic.
Judge Claasen said that while the onus rests on an applicant to show on a balance of probabilities that his release on bail will not prejudice the interest of justice, the State is not relieved of its duty to lead evidence in support of its objection to bail.
“The central thread that weaves through a bail enquiry is whether the interest of justice will be prejudiced if bail granted,” she said.
This, she said, on the other hand, requires the bail court to be mindful of the presumption of innocence and balance against the reasonable requirements of the administration of justice.
At the same time, the judge stated, the court should determine whether an objection to release an accused on bail cannot suitably be met by appropriate conditions pertaining to being released on bail.
While there is no doubt that the charge is serious, she said, bail cannot be used as a measure to anticipate punishment, the judge reiterated and said that after carefully considering the evidence, she is satisfied that bail with conditions is warranted in the circumstances.
She granted Maasdorp bail of N$2 000 and ordered that he report to the Du Plessis police station on Mondays between 09h00 and 17h00, has no direct or indirect contact with State witnesses, does not leave the district of Gobabis without the written permission of the investigating officer, that he notifies the investigating officer of any change in his residential address and that he appears on the dates and times to which his case has been postponed in the Windhoek High Court.