The N$1.1 million lawsuit hearing of an American national currently on trial for murder has been put on hold for him to get new a lawyer.
The hearing, which was scheduled to start yesterday before Judge Johanna Prinsloo, could not proceed after Marcus Thomas’ lawyer Lilian Mbaeva withdrew yesterday from the case, citing she is leaving the legal service and her law firm Lilian Mbaeva Incorporated is shutting down.
Mbaeva informed the court she will be returning Thomas’ file to the Directorate of Legal Aid so he may be allocated a new lawyer.
Prinsloo said the case has been on the roll for quite some time due to Thomas’ legal representation issues – and it needs to be finalised.
She suggested Thomas will have to represent himself if he fails to secure legal representation.
The court postponed the case to 2 December for legal aid and remanded Thomas in police custody.
In his suit, Thomas is suing the minister of safety and security, commissioner general of the Namibian Correctional Service and four correctional officers for assault and torture, and emotional stress.
He is claiming N$500 000 for assault and torture, N$200 000 for emotional stress and N$400 000 for constitutional damages.
The total amount sought is N$1.1 million.
He claims the damages arise from an incident on 13 January 2017 when he was involved in a fight with a fellow inmate.
After the fight, he was escorted to the warden’s office, where he was questioned about the fight.
He allegedly explained his version to the officer but he did not believe him, and told him he has a problem with all “Africans”.
During the interrogation, he claimed he was assaulted after refusing to take a seat on the floor.
According to him, the correctional officer said “all Americans are arrogant”.
The 36-year-old Thomas is currently on trial with fellow countryman Kevin Townsend (35) on a count of murder, a count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, three counts of contravening the Ammunitions Act and a count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
All the charges are connected to the killing of Andre Peter Heckmair (25) in Windhoek on 7 January 2011.
Prosecution is alleging the two accused met in a jail in New York in the United States of America, where Thomas paid the bail of Townsend, who was in police custody.
After the release of Townsend, they travelled to Helsinki in Finland from where they forwarded a package to Namibia, containing a firearm silencer but was labelled ‘furniture spare’ or ‘table leg replacement’ in preparation for their plan to travel to Namibia.
After they arrived in Namibia, it is stated in court documents, they started making enquiries on the whereabouts of Heckmair and bought an illegal 7.65mm pistol.
After they managed to contact Heckmair, they lured him to the quiet Gusinde street in Windhoek’s Eros suburb, where they allegedly shot him once in the head and robbed him of his cell phone and wallet containing at least 100 Swiss Franc.
Thomas and Townsend were arrested at a guesthouse in Windhoek in the evening after the incident.