Nuusita Ashipala ONGWEDIVA - Rochas hotel robber, 36-year-old Marius Romanus was at the end of last week convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances in the Oshakati Regional Court. He is expected to be sentenced on Thursday this week. Romanus was arrested in 2007 and was granted bail of N$3000 in July 2008, of which he thereafter absconded from court. Romanus was rearrested in one of Windhoek’s informal settlement after an alleged escape from Angola police holding cells between October 4 and 5 in 2015. Romanus was amongst the five men arrested for the Angola bank robbery in Luanda the same year. Following his re-arrest, Romanus appeared in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court and was then transferred to Oluno Correctional Facility in Ondangwa, where he is being kept in solitary confinement. According to media reports in 2015, the police alleged that Romanus’ real name is Marius Jackie Iipinge. But he allegedly misled the court during his court appearance at the Katutura Magistrate’s Court in 2015 that he is Marius Romanus. Ironically, Romanus was tried under the same name at Oshakati Regional Court. Although witnesses testified that there were two other suspects at the scene at the time of the robbery on June 29, 2007, Romanus is taking the bullet alone as the other two assailants remain unknown. He denies the robbery, claiming he was in Windhoek at the time the offence was committed, despite being identified by one of the witnesses. Romanus and his two other unknown assailants held employees at the Rochas Hotel including the security guard at gun point, assaulted them and managed to escape with over N$26 000 in cash, three cellphones and a gold necklace. None of the items have been recovered. The defence in their submissions asked the court to give Romanus a suspended sentence of six years. His defence council, on instruction of legal aid lawyer Mwala Mukasa said the solitary confinement his client is compelled to seems as if he is already serving a sentence. He claims his client is enduring suffering in an isolated cell where he is kept. Romanus has spent four years in custody altogether. But State prosecutor Nelao Ya France asked the court to sentence Romanus to 15 years with a suspended sentence of five years. Ya France argued that there is an outcry from the public to be protected against perpetrators such as the convict and this pleads for a lengthy custodial sentence. Magistrate Leopoldt Hangalo was on the bench.
2018-07-02 09:11:25 2 months ago