Suspect jeopardizes own defence

Home Crime and Courts Suspect jeopardizes own defence

By Roland Routh

WINDHOEK – The murder trial of Richard Hange, which is already plagued with a series of hiccups, suffered another setback yesterday when his state-funded lawyer withdrew. 

Lawyer Moudi Hangula informed Judge Christi Liebenberg she was uncomfortable defending Hange as he kept giving her conflicting instructions. 

Hange’s trial was already supposed to start early this year, but had to be abandoned after Hangula wanted to withdraw as she was erroneously informed by a clerk at the Legal Aid Directorate that there was no money to pay for her services. 

This time, however, Hangula told the judge that Hange changed his mind at will and would rather take the advice of other people than from his legal representative. 

She further told the judge she had already spoken to the Directorate of Legal Aid and they could have a replacement ready as soon as today. The trial was postponed to today to sort out Hange’s legal woes. 

State Advocate Jack Eixab wanted the court to re-submit the matter to the pre-trial roll, but Judge Liebenberg would have none of it and said he would rather see if legal aid can provide another lawyer as the whole week was set down for Hange’s murder trial. 

The case was set down by Judge President Petrus Damaseb for 30 June to 4 July 04. It was supposed to be heard by Judge Maphios Cheda, but he was seconded to the Oshakati High Court in the place of Judge Liebenberg who is now tasked with presiding over the matter. 

Hange, 27, who is in custody since his arrest in September 2011 when he was 24 years old is charged with the murder of his live-in girlfriend Lisa Kandovazu on 27 September 2011. 

It is alleged in the indictment that Hange and the deceased were in a domestic relationship and had a child together. 

According to the summary of facts an argument erupted between Hange and Kandovazu at the latter’s residence in Havana settlement, Windhoek. It is alleged that Hange hit the deceased with an unknown blunt object(s) on her head, tried to strangle her and/or stabbed her at least twice with a knife. 

Kandovazu died on the scene due to blood loss caused by one of the stab wounds, while the injuries caused by the blunt force also contributed to the deceased’s demise.