Roland Routh WINDHOEK - The possible replacement for Kadhila Amoomo, who had to withdraw as the lawyer for American, Marcus Thomas, in his ongoing murder trial, Henry Shimutwikeni did not show up on Friday when he was to indicate whether he will be the latest in a long line of legal representatives for Thomas. Judge Christi Liebenberg who is presiding over the trial ordered that Shimutwikeni must submit an affidavit to court today when the trial is set to resume explaining his absence. The last lawyer appointed by legal aid to represent Thomas had to decline the offer to represent him in the trial that has been dragging on since 2014. Gilroy Kasper had to decline as he has no dates open this year and Judge Christi Liebenberg wants the trial underway and possibly finalised this year. The judge has now instructed legal aid to find a lawyer for Thomas who will be available on the dates the trial is set down. It was announced last Thursday that Shimutwikeni will take over the defence of Thomas if he is available for this session of the trial and after consulting with Thomas. The trial got stalled shortly after its start when Thomas asked the court through his then legal representative, Werner van Rensburg, for mental observation after he fell from a two metre fence while attempting to escape from custody. Since then he went through various lawyers. Judge Liebenberg recently dismissed an application by Thomas to recuse himself from the trial for alleged bias. The Supreme Court dismissed the subsequent appeal Thomas lodged against the refusal. Thomas alleged Judge Liebenberg showed bias when he used the words ‘acted’ or ‘acts’ on July 3, 2017 in a ruling to determine the admissibility of two psychiatric reports that declared him fit to stand trial. In the judgment refusing his recusal, Judge Liebenberg stated that his use of the words acted or acts is in line with the findings of the two psychiatrists and in no way indicates that he already found the accused acted in respect of the offences charged. He called the reasons “insignificant, unmeritorious and falling short of meeting established requirements.” Thomas who claimed he suffered a brain injury when he fell from a two-metre fence during a botched escape attempt was declared fit to stand trial in the Windhoek High Court by two psychiatrists after he was sent for successive psychiatric evaluations by the court. He was initially declared unfit by State psychiatrist, Dr Frieda Mthoko because of a neuro cognitive disorder, but was later found to be malingering by two private psychiatrists, Dr Reinhardt Sieberhagen and Professor Tuviah Zabow from South Africa. Thomas and Fellow American, Kevin Townsend are facing one count of murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, three counts of contravening the Ammunitions Act and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. The State alleges they killed Heckmair, who is the son of the owners of the Cattle Baron Steak Ranch, by shooting him assassin style in the back of his head on January 7, 2011 at Gusinde Street in Windhoek and robbed him of his cellphone and wallet containing at 100 Swiss Franc. They also allegedly imported two 9mm pistol barrels without a permit and allegedly possessed a 7.65mm pistol and ammunition without a license. It is further alleged they removed a notebook from police custody after the police seized it as an exhibit and/or burned, destroyed or otherwise dispose of some of the pages in the book.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-30 09:35:29 8 months ago