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Murder accused want judge removed from case

2022-08-30  Maria Amakali

Murder accused want judge removed from case

Two of three men on trial for the murder of renowned stock theft investigator Wilfred ‘Major’ Kazeurua in Gobabis in 2012 are fighting to have the presiding judge step down from their case.

Stockley Kauejao and Muvare Kaporo are seeking leave from the High Court so they may approach the Supreme Court to appeal Judge Alfred Siboleka’s decision not to recuse himself from the trial.

The duo believes that the Supreme Court once presented with the same facts on why Siboleka should recuse himself, will give a different ruling than that of the High Court.

Kauejao and Kaporo through their lawyers Salomon Kanyemba and Mbanga Siyomunji yesterday said Siboleka is partial, as he has already approached the matter with a guilty mind towards them.

“We submit that the lack of the learned judge’s impartiality and open-mindedness dwarfed the implication of a fair trial in that the guilty mind that the judge maintained in the proceedings will bar him from accepting any other view that the appellants (Kauejao and Kaporo) will present during the course of the proceedings,” said the lawyers.

They said the law dictates that the presumption of innocence of an accused person throughout the trial is maintained, until the court proves them guilty. So, if Siboleka does not step away from the trial, the accused will not get a fair trial.

The prosecution, represented by Ezekiel Ipinge, said the recent application is a repetition of what was dealt with by the court before.

“We are dealing with the same issues. I have demonstrated that this application is baseless and the ruling which dismissed the recusal application was correct in law,” said Ipinge.

According to him, a different court if presented with the same facts will not give a different conclusion. Thus, the application should be dismissed with cost.

Judge Siboleka said he needed time to consider all the facts because the case is voluminous. He will give a ruling on 9 September.

 

Bail

During court proceedings, Kanyemba asked the court to consider reinstating Kauejao bail. According to Kanyemba, there is no fear that Kauejao is dragging the matter, prolonging its finalisation as he has since acquired a lawyer and paid legal fees for the trial.

In October 2021, Siboleka revoked Kauejao’s bail as he believed he was the reason for various delays the trial has suffered since its start in 2015. The trial had to be put on hold due to several applications, and the hire and fire of lawyers.

At the time, Siboleka said he has had it with postponements, and that the State already closed its case in 2018 – and the continued delays in the trial could only be laid at the door of Kauejao.

The State is adamant that if Kauejao wishes to be released on bail, he should apply for a formal bail hearing. 

The court is yet to give a ruling on the matter.

Kaporo, whose bail hearing was scheduled for yesterday, got postponed to today for a new judge to be assigned. 

The matter was assigned to Siboleka who is currently hearing the trial.

Kauejao and Kaporo alongside Mathew Kakururume are on trial on charges of murder, stock theft, and defeating or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice – charges they have all denied.

The fourth accused, Afas Kamutjemo, is only charged with counts of stock theft and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

The State is alleging the accused conspired to kill Kazeurua to prevent him from tracing cattle they had stolen. The group had allegedly stolen 15 head of cattle from a farm in the Gobabis area earlier in December 2012.

Kaporo and Kakururume allegedly 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. 

Kazeurua’s vehicle was set on fire after he had been killed, and his body was burnt and buried.

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

The accused have all denied guilt.

- mamakali@nepc.com.na


2022-08-30  Maria Amakali

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