WINDHOEK – Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Orben Sibeya yesterday made short work of dismissing an application for discharge in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act by the alleged killer of 71-year-old farmer Karl-Heinz Kossmann.
Johannes Katanga, 31, asked for his discharge for lack of evidence after the state had closed its case.
Katanga stands accused of the murder and robbery of Kossmann on farm Aasvöelkrans in the Outjo District on September 25, 2017.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges at the start of his trial and told the court he was not at the scene.
According to the indictment, Kossmann hired Katanga about two weeks before the incident and on the day in question Katanga fired various shots at the deceased with his (deceased’s) own firearm whereafter he tied his hands behind his back with wire and continued to assault him with sticks, stones and other unknown weapons.
As a result the deceased suffered a fractured sternum and 17 broken ribs and Katanga then stole N$1 737; R95; a cellphone, one .38 Astra revolver, one 9mm PAR. Mauser pistol and magazine, 11 live bullets and two spent cartridges.
He also tried to steal a DVD player, a briefcase, body spray, recharge vouchers, USB, a disc player with amplifier and speakers, pliers, UPS, several live bullets of different calibre, two laptops and one motor vehicle.
He however had to leave the loot behind when neighbouring farmers came to the rescue of the deceased after being alerted by another farmworker about shots being fired at the farmhouse.
He managed to flee on foot with the listed items.
When State Advocate Timo Itula closed the state’s case at the end of last month, the accused’s legal aid lawyer, Mwala Siambango, immediately applied for the section 174 discharge and said the state failed miserably to prove that Katanga was the one who killed and robbed the deceased.
According to Siambango, there is no direct evidence that links his client to the murder and as such he is entitled not to incriminate himself by testifying and possibly helping the state to prove its case.
But Itula argued the state adduced enough circumstantial evidence to have established a prima facie case against Katanga and that he must be put on his defense.
Judge Sibeya agreed with the state and said that in his considered view the evidence placed before court by the state is enough to allow a court acting carefully and reasonably to convict and Katanga should thus be placed on his defence.
The trial will continue next week Thursday with Katanga expected to testify in his own defence and he remains in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial-awaiting inmates.
2019-10-11 07:28:31 | 9 months ago