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Murder accused seeks judge’s recusal 

2022-04-14  Roland Routh

Murder accused seeks judge’s recusal 

Roland Routh

Murder accused Stockley Kauejao yesterday lodged an application for Judge Alfred Siboleka to recuse himself from his trial that has been running since 2015. 

Kauejao (44) is one of the accused in the murder of renowned stock theft investigator, Hiambepo ‘Major’ Kazeurua. 

According to the application lodged on his behalf by his new lawyer Salomon Kanyemba, Kauejao feels that the judge will not be unbiased towards him when the time for judgement comes. 

This, he said, was already proven when the judge prejudged issues that are live between the parties before the court was asked to rule on it, and without parties having been given an opportunity to present facts and make submissions thereon.

 “With respect, the intention of the presiding judge is not the issue in this matter, and it would be quite improper to ask the presiding judge to express his views as to what his actual intention was when he delivered his 174 ruling. What is important is what was perceived by the accused,” he said.

 “The fact remains that from the applicant›s point of view, the court made startling factual findings in its ruling, dismissing the applicant›s application for discharge in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act, firstly by finding that the applicant and State witness Usiel Kamutjemo know each other well because the MTC data records show that they telephonically contacted each other 12 times shortly before the cattle went missing and secondly that witness Kauaria met/crossed accused one’s tinted Land Cruiser on the Aminuis-Gobabis gravel road. 

According to him, the court clearly did not apply its mind to the MTC printouts presented to it as clearly there is no record of 12 transactions/communications between the applicant and Kamutjemo. Furthermore, he said, the court made another factual finding that witness Kauaria met/crossed the applicant’s vehicle despite the fact that the witness clearly said in his testimony in chief that he never told the police he saw the applicant’s vehicle near or in the vicinity of the crime scene. According to Kanyemba, the events that happened from 11 October 2021 when the judge “unfairly forced” the applicant to proceed with a trial without a legal representative even though the applicant made it clear that he wanted to be presented by counsel, culminated in a myriad of infringements on the applicants constitutionally guaranteed right to a fair trial.

Mbanga Siyomunji, who only came on record for accused three, Muvare Kaporo on Tuesday also gave notice that he intends to apply for the judge’s recusal on behalf of his client. 

He bases his application on the judge’s refusal to grant Kaporo an opportunity to consult with his new lawyer after his previous lawyer Laura Pack withdrew due to conflicting instructions.

The accused are also facing other charges of stock theft and defeating the course of justice.

The matter has been coming since January 2015 and has been besieged by several delays since its inception, including applications for bail by two of the accused still in custody and appeals after bail was refused. 

Should the judge grant the recusal application, the matter will have to start afresh before a new judge.

All of the accused pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, stock theft and defeating or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

According to the indictment, the accused conspired to kill Kazeurua to prevent him from tracing cattle they had stolen and Kaporo and Kakururume ambushed him and killed him by strangling him and throwing sand in his mouth to prevent him from breathing. 

This allegedly happened on 28 December 2012. 

The partly burned body of Kazeurua was found in an aardvark burrow on 7 January 2013, after being reported missing days earlier.

2022-04-14  Roland Routh

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