Police negligence sees hit-and-run suspect walk free

21 Jun 2013 08:10
WINDHOEK, 21 JUN (NAMPA) - Failure by the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) to complete a photo plan of a hit-and-run incident which led to the death of a local dancer, has led to the withdrawal of several charges against the suspect here on Friday.
Claudia Solazzi faced charges of culpable homicide, failure to ascertain damages at an accident, as well as failure to render assistance to the victim, Quinton 'Quera' Gowaseb, a back-up dancer for local hip-hop and Kwaito artist 'Sunny Boy'.
He was bumped to death in the capital in September last year, apparently by a Citi Golf vehicle driven by Solazzi.
On Friday, Windhoek Magistrate Jermaine Muchali withdrew all charges against Solazzi because of the police's failure to complete the photo plan of the accident.
?The record of this case has been perused and the case dates back to October 2012. The case has been remanded for police investigations twice on 18 February 2013 and 19 April 2013.
On 18 February 2013, the only reason for remand was for the photo plan. On 19 April 2013, the photo plan was still outstanding and the case was remanded until 21 June 2013 for the photo plan. Today, 21 June 2013, the photo plan is still not filed in the docket,? explained presiding Magistrate Muchali.
He noted that the police investigating officer is not certain when the photo plan will be filed in the docket, and the police officer who was at the scene of the crime was not called to testify when he will finish the photo plan.
?This court does not dispute that the accused person is charged with a serious offence. But as defence lawyer, attorney Jan Wessels who is representing the accused person indicated the court must be fair to both the State and the accused person.
As a result, the court will refuse another remand because the accused?s rights to a speedy trial is prejudiced, and furthermore the State has been given ample time to finalise the investigations, but it has failed,? said the magistrate.
Public Prosecutor Taodago Gaweseb represented the State on Friday morning.
The late Gowaseb was allegedly struck and killed by a passing car while trying to cross the main road between the Safari Hotel and the Doc Jubber Hockey Field in the capital on 29 September last year.
He had just finished performing with Sunny Boy in a curtain-raiser for American R&B and Hip-Hop musician Eve.
Gowaseb was 27 years old at the time of his death, and father to two minor children.
Solazzi (age not given) allegedly handed herself over to the police the following day.
She was free on a bail of N.dollars 3 000, which was ordered by the court today to be refunded to the depositor.