Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg yesterday ordered that the stop-start trial of the two American citizens accused of the assassin-like murder of Andre Heckmair in Windhoek in 2011, continues today with or without Marcus Thomas. Thomas who is now using the Covid-19 pandemic as another of his ploys to delay the already long-running trial is claiming that he fears for his safety as he allegedly had contact with confirmed cases. But Liebenberg would have nothing of this, saying there is no evidence before him that Thomas was either exposed to the virus or was in contact with a confirmed case.
Neither, he said, was there any evidence that he has any of the symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus.
The judge went on to say that Thomas proffered false information which is clearly aimed at stalling his trial.
This, the judge said, is a blatant abuse of privileges the constitution guarantees, but that it is over now.
According to the judge, evidence was led that no infections were reported in the section where Thomas is housed in the Windhoek Correctional Facility and in any way, preventive measures are being employed as per the Covid-19 regulations such as sanitising, the limiting of persons attending court hearings and social distancing.
The judge ordered Braam Cupido, who is on record for Thomas on instructions of Legal Aid, to convey the message to Thomas and inform him that the trial will continue in his absence without leave of the court.
Thomas and his co-accused Kevan 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.
It is further alleged that they unlawfully imported two 9mm pistol barrels without a permit or alternatively possessed the 9mm barrels without a licence and the alleged possession of a 7.65mm pistol without a licence and unlawful possession of ammunition.
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.
Townsend is represented by Mbanga Siyomunji on private instructions and the State by deputy prosecutor general Advocate Antonia Verhoef.