One of the Americans currently on trial on a charge of murder in addition to other charges in the Windhoek High Court lost his bid to regain his freedom after acting Judge Orben Sibeya dismissed his bail application.
According to Sibeya, the incentive for Kevan Townsend (34) to flee the country if released on bail is just too great since there exists a real possibility that he will be convicted and sentenced to a lengthy prison term.
“The circumstantial evidence mounted against the applicant is of such a nature that, properly considered, may result in the applicant being convicted of the murder of the deceased. These proceedings are not aimed at determining the guilt or otherwise of the applicant, but I state without fear of contradiction that the State produced enough evidence to demonstrate that it has a strong case against the applicant,” the presiding officer remarked.
He went on to say the seriousness of the charges formulated against the applicant, particularly that of murder, is of such calibre that, if proven, the applicant will receive a lengthy custodial sentence and that where the State has a strong case against an applicant for bail, the possibility of a severe sentence can be an enticement to the accused to flee and therefore jeopardise the administration of justice.
The judge further said that he is of the considered view that the interests of the applicant are far outweighed by the interests of the administration of justice herein which requires that the trial should follow its logical conclusion without any hindrance from the applicant.
Sibeya said he was satisfied that Townsend failed to establish that he is worthy of being granted bail and further that such decision will not prejudice the interests of justice.
“I have further considered the possibility of imposing strict bail conditions in order to suppress risks that may be involved, but I am of the view that that this will not be sufficient to protect the interests of justice,” Sibeya stated and added that he is of the opinion that public interest and the interest of justice dictate that bail be refused.
Townsend, together with Marcus Thomas, aged 34, is on trial in the Windhoek High Court for the assassin-like murder of Andre Heckmair in Windhoek in 2011. The case began already in 2014 but has been dragging on mostly due to various applications the Americans brought before court and the firing and withdrawing of lawyers.
Thomas and Townsend face 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.
Townsend is represented by Mbanga Siyomunji on private instructions and the State by deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef.