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State asks for conviction in murder trial

2021-05-20  Roland Routh

State asks for conviction in murder trial
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State prosecutor Marthino Olivier yesterday asked Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg to convict a man accused of murdering his girlfriend. Olivier, however, conceded he could not prove a charge of defeating or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice against Gustav Pienaar.  

It is alleged that Pienaar killed his girlfriend and mother of his then two-year-old son by stabbing her once on the chest with a knife on 8 May 2018 in Windhoek’s Havana area. He is charged with one count of murder read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act for stabbing Magde Christina Cloete to death, one count of assault by threat for threatening to kill Hilaria Amukoto, and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice for hiding or destroying the knife used to kill the victim. 

He denied guilt, and blamed one of the State witnesses, Dina Smith, for the murder.  Olivier argued that based on the evidence presented, the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Pienaar was the one who murdered the victim, and that his version that it was Smith was just an afterthought. 

He said although Smith’s evidence is that of a single witness, her testimony was clear and coherent and must be considered as reliable, contrary to the testimony of the accused, which was “vague and dishonest”. 

He further said Pienaar twisted his evidence to fit his version of events. This, he said, can be borne out by the testimonies of his two defence witnesses who claimed that Smith admitted to them that it was she and not Pienaar who stabbed the victim. 

He went on to say that Smith categorically denied this, and in his view the witnesses cannot be trusted as both gave varying statements. In any event, Olivier said, it is trite that all of them were drunk when the so-called admissions were made. With regard to the charge of assault by threat, Olivier argued that the court must only determine if the complainant genuinely feared that Pienaar would carry out his threat, and if yes, convict him accordingly. 

In the end, he said, the State is satisfied that it proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and asked that Pienaar be convicted on the charges of murder and assault by threat. 

Pienaar asked the court for a postponement to prepare his submissions, which was granted, and he will return on 14 June to argue his case. Pienaar is conducting his own defence after several lawyers withdrew from his case because of unrealistic instructions. 

He will remain in custody at the section for trial-awaiting inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility.


2021-05-20  Roland Routh

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