State Advocate Timo Itula on Friday conceded that the State did not prove the two men on trial for the murder and robbery of an elderly Swakopmund couple killed Siegfried.
The deceased are 81-year-old Siegfried and 79-year-old Sieglinde Strzelecki.
He, however, said that a competent verdict of assault has been proven against Simon Shidute Jerobeam (31), accused one in the matter. According to Itula, the evidence of Jerobeam, contained in his warning statement that was admitted into evidence confirm he attacked Siegfried. With regards to the murder of Sieglinde, he said that the evidence bore out that Jerobeam grabbed her and wrapped cello tape around her mouth and a rope around her neck which caused her to die of asphyxia.
According to Itula, the State concedes that it did not lead any evidence to link Fabian Hipukuluka Tange-Omwene Lazarus (accused number two) to the assault and killing of the deceased
persons. However, he said, the circumstantial evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that both accused acted with a common purpose to break and enter the house of the deceased couple and rob them. Tjingairi Kaurivi, on behalf of Jerobeam, argued that the State did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his client committed murder. According to him, the evidence did not prove that his client had the intention to kill the deceased. According to him, his client’s only intention was to steal from the deceased and as such, he concedes to the theft, housebreaking and robbery and the defeating the course of justice charges. Furthermore, he said the State did not prove that his client was part of a conspiracy and that the doctrine of common purpose on which the State rely is stretched on its part.
Defence lawyer, Milton Engelbrecht, on behalf of Lazarus, argued that the State did not prove any of the charges against his client. While he commended the State for its concession on the murder charges against his client, he said that none of the other charges was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. With regards to the counts of attempted housebreaking with the intent to rob, and robbery, and the count of conspiracy to commit housebreaking with intent to rob, and robbery with aggravating circumstances, and/or murder, he said it is a duplication of charges.
He further said that the count of defeating the course of justice was also not proven. According to Engelbrecht, his client had an explanation for why his clothing and takkies were submerged in water and it was the police’s duty to investigate the explanation, which they failed to do. He asked the court to dismiss all charges against his client as the State failed dismally to prove any of it.
The accused are charged with two murder counts, a count of housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery, theft, conspiracy to commit housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances and/or murder and defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
It is alleged by the State that they broke into the house of the Strzeleckis in Swakopmund during the early morning of 2 August 2017 with the aim to rob the elderly couple and in the process killed Sieglinde by strangulation and caused Siegfried to die eight days later in a frail care home.
Both accused pleaded not guilty at the start of their trial.
The accused remain in custody at the section for trial awaiting inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility. Judge Liebenberg reserved his judgment until 12 October.