A 72-year-old resident of Schlip near Mariental pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act for the second time yesterday before Windhoek High Court Judge Orben Sibeya.
Jan Donald Bruwer also pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm and two counts of assault.
This is the second bite at the cherry for Bruwer who was first arraigned in the Mariental Regional Court, but the case was transferred to the High Court after a successful application for recusal against the magistrate who originally presided over the trial.
After the magistrate made an unsubstantiated ruling in the original trial, Winnie Christiaans, on behalf of Bruwer, applied for his recusal but the application was refused.
However, on appeal, Windhoek High Court Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula ruled in favour of the recusal and the matter was subsequently transferred to the Windhoek High Court.
Bruwer is accused of murdering his step-son-in-law Henry Noble Mouton on 29 November 2014 at Schlip.
It is alleged in the indictment that the accused had an altercation with his wife Renette Bruwer and that he hit her in the face with a clenched fist.
Bruwer is also accused of slapping another woman who enquired about the assault on his wife.
A quarrel further ensued when Henry’s wife Cathleen Mouton wanted to know why the accused assaulted her mother.
This too ended with the murder accused slapping Cathleen, according to the indictment.
It was at this point that Henry was called to the house leading to the shooting incident in which he was shot three times – twice in the stomach and once in the face – causing him to die from his injuries.
After he shot the victim, it is alleged, Cathleen, who heard the shot, came out to see what was going on and the accused tried to murder her by firing one shot at her, wounding her in her shoulder.
The doctor who conducted the autopsy, Gwinyai Kadenge, yesterday told the court he observed three entry wounds on the victim but found only one exit wound.
He further told the court the wound that most likely caused the victim’s demise was one that entered through the stomach, ruptured the lever, and damaged the lungs and diaphragm.
According to him, however, he cannot say with certainty which shot was fired first.
Christiaans, however, told the doctor that his client’s version is that the victim arrived at the farm in a drunken state and aggressively approached the accused.
According to Christiaans, the accused warned the victim not to come closer, as he was armed and would shoot. The victim, however, continued to advance on him – and in panic, he fired the shots.
Bruwer also claimed Cathleen was shot accidentally when she bumped against his hand that held the firearm.
However, William Nambahu, former firearms expert at the National Forensic Science Institute, dismissed such a scenario – as according to him, the firearm could not have gone off accidentally, as there is nothing wrong with the firing mechanism.
The matter continues today, with the State being represented by Ethel Ndlovu.