Judgement in German flight instructor murder set for August

27 Jun 2013 08:50
WINDHOEK, 27 JUN (NAMPA) - Two men accused of robbing and murdering a German flight instructor in Windhoek at the end of 2005 will hear their fate in mid-August this year when the High Court delivers judgement in the matter.
The two accused men - Dumingu Zuzee da Costa, 41, and the 34-year-old Joseph Wasuka Nunda - stand accused of robbing and murdering German flight instructor Ralph Kohnke in Windhoek on 26 December 2005.
The judgement in the alleged robbery and murder case will be handed down by High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo on 16 August this year at around 10h00.
This was announced by presiding Judge Ndauendapo on Thursday morning shortly after he listened to written submissions for judgement by defence lawyers Advocate Wiennie Christiaans and Christian Nambahu and State representative, Deputy Prosecutor-General Belinda Wantenaar.
In their submissions for judgement, the two defence lawyers - Christiaans and Nambahu - asked the court to discharge their clients because the State (prosecution) has failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt that the two were involved in the commission of the alleged robbery and murder crime.
They said in totality, the evidence presented by the State before court did not show that the two accused persons were involved in the alleged robbery and killing of the deceased person, apart from the evidence of the confessions.
?The only evidence before this court implicating the two accused persons in this case is the evidence of the confessions the two men made to the police. These confessions were taken from the two men through some dubious use of force by the police. Therefore, the court cannot find the two men guilty of murder relying on the evidence of the disputed confessions,? said the two defence lawyers as they asked the court to set their clients free.
In her submission, State representative Wantenaar asked the court to find the two men guilty as charged.
On 13 July last year, the two accused suffered a heavy blow when the confessions and self-incriminating statements they made to the police investigation team were admitted as evidence in court.
The confessions and self-incriminating statements have now been used as evidence by the State against the two men in the main trial.
In his judgement on the admissibility of the confessions and related statements in the trial-within-a-trial on 13 July 2012, Judge Ndauendapo ruled in favour of the prosecution by dismissing applications lodged by the two accused persons.
?The confessions and other self-incriminating statements taken from the accused persons by members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) on 04 and 05 January 2006 are all being ruled admissible by the court. The reasons of my ruling will be made available to both the prosecution and defence lawyers in due course,? Ndauendapo said at the time.
Both men had already pleaded not guilty to counts of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and defeating or obstructing the course of justice, alternatively violating a dead human body, when their main trial started before Ndauendapo in the High Court in Windhoek on 17 September 2009.
They are being accused of allegedly killing German flight instructor Kohnke in his house in Windhoek on 26 December 2005.
On 29 December 2005, the burned remains of the 34-year-old flight instructor were found in the Goreangab Dam area in Windhoek.
Kohnke was allegedly struck on the head with a brick or other object, and died due to a skull fracture.
His body was discovered near the Goreangab Dam three days later.
The prosecution is alleging that after Kohnke was killed, Da Costa and Nunda loaded his body into a car, transported it to the area where he was later found, and then set the body on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence of the alleged assault.
It is also alleged that the two men stole goods including computer equipment, tools, a safe, two firearms and an unknown amount of money in cash from Kohnke's house after he had been killed.
Da Costa and Nunda were arrested early January 2006.
Advocate Christiaans and Nambahu are representing the two accused persons while acting on the instruction of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid.
The two men have been held in police custody at the Windhoek Central Prison's holding cells since their arrest in January 2006 with no option to post bail.
They return to the Windhoek High Court on 16 August this year to hear the judgement.