American Marcus Thomas, who is accused of the assassin-like murder of Andre Heckmair in Windhoek in 2011, is now using the Covid-19 pandemic to cause further delays in the trial he is facing with fellow American Kevin Townsend.
This was said yesterday by deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef after the court was provided with a letter from a doctor at the Windhoek Correctional Service, stating that Thomas has ‘SARS’-related symptoms.
An exasperated Verhoef asked the court to have the doctor in charge of the medical facility at the prison and the head of the trial-awaiting section of the facility subpoenaed to appear in person to explain the letter.
Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg – who has warned Thomas on previous occasions that he will not tolerate the tactics to disrupt the trial – that has been coming on for almost seven years, granted the request by the State.
The judge issued the subpoenas as requested by the State and remanded the matter to today for the doctor and the correctional officer to attend court.
Mbanga Siyomunji, who is acting on behalf of Townsend, did not oppose the application by the State.
Siyomunji has previously applied on behalf of Townsend to have the trials separated, as he said his client is ready and willing to proceed with the trial, while Thomas is doing his best to disrupt the proceedings.
Thomas and Townsend are accused of killing Heckmair with a single gunshot in the back of his head on 7 January 2011 in Windhoek, and robbing him of his cellphone and wallet containing at 100 Swiss francs.
They are further charged with intent to defeat or obstruct the course of justice for allegedly removing 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.
They 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 matter proceeded yesterday afternoon and will continue today.
Thomas and Townsend remain in custody. Thomas is represented by Braam Cupido. - firstname.lastname@example.org