Windhoek High Court Judge Dinnah Usiku on Friday dismissed an application for discharge by murder accused Abraham Maasdorp for an alleged lack of evidence against him.
Maasdorp lodged a section 174 application after the State closed its case because he feels no credible evidence was presented against him.
The State, represented by Basson Lilungwe, opposed the application and said that they adduced enough credible evidence to put Maasdorp on his defence.
Maasdorp’s Legal Aid-funded lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji argued the evidence of the State witnesses was so riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions that no reasonable person would believe it.
In fact, he said, the evidence of the State’s star witness, who allegedly witnessed the stabbing, is out and out a fabrication or a flight of her imagination. How can you, he asked rhetorically, witness a stabbing and casually go home and sleep without reporting the stabbing to at least one person or help the victim?
Furthermore, he argued that the clinic sister who tended to the deceased testified that the wound was not fatal, and had already healed by the time the deceased complained about stomach aches and was hospitalised.
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 that he stabbed Magda van Wyk (20) on 02 August 2019, causing her to die in the Katutura 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 and indicated that he will not give a witness statement, but put the onus on the State to prove each and every charge.
In her ruling, the judge said at this stage of proceedings, the credibility of State witnesses does not play a significant role in determining the guilt or innocence of an accused. What is needed, she said, is that the State must proof that it has a prima facie case which an accused has to answer to. The question at this stage of the proceedings is thus whether or not the State adduced enough evidence upon which a reasonable court, acting carefully, might – not must – convict. According to the judge, there is evidence that places the accused on the actual crime scene, which needs answers.
Usiku said Maasdorp had been placed at the scene by an eyewitness, and the cause of death is indicated as being a result of a penetrating stab wound to the chest of the deceased.
With all the evidence viewed in totality, she observed, she is of the view that a reasonable court, acting carefully, might convict on the evidence presented so far. In the premises, she said, the application cannot be granted.
The matter was postponed to 21 November for the defence’s case, and Maasdorp’s bail was extended.