01 Nov 2014 08:40am
KEETMANSHOOP, 01 NOV (NAMPA) Two fathers faced off in the Keetmanshoop Magistrates Court on Wednesday and Thursday with one attempting to get his son out of jail, while the other vehemently opposed the attempt.
Twenty-year-old murder suspect Jamee Afrikaner formally appeared for a bail application hearing in front of Magistrate Helena Nepembe, one month after the gruesome assault and death of Elton Riekert, 20, near a bar in Keetmanshoop's Tseiblaagte residential area.
Six young men, including a Grade 9 learner, were arrested in connection with the murder.
Riekert suffered severe injuries after an alleged gang attack by the suspects in an open area in full view of onlookers.
He was allegedly kicked and beaten, stabbed with a knife several times and cut on his head, face and body with a panga.
It is also alleged that the deceased was hit on the head with a bottle and a large stone.
He died in an ambulance en-route to Windhoek where he was to receive emergency treatment.
Afrikaner is accused by the State as the suspect responsible for the panga attacks.
He is also accused of intending to cut off the private parts of the victim.
During his bail application, the young man who completed Grade 12 last year, denied the charges.
He stated that he only slapped the deceased twice on his chest with the flat side of the panga in retaliation for an attack allegedly launched by the deceased.
The hearing was emotionally charged, with the mother of the victim weeping and family members in the gallery often breaking out in tears, prompting several police-assisted escorts out of court.
The father of the suspect, James Titus, 52, testified for his son, requesting the granting of bail.
He told the court that although he had not approached the family of the deceased, as this was a sensitive matter, he regretted their loss.
He said, however, that the law made provision for his son to apply for bail, and that freedom for his son would cause no harm and would not change what had already happened.
Taking the stand, the father of the deceased, Willie Riekert, 49, said granting bail to the suspect would not be in the interest of justice for the ghastly end of his sons young life.
Had the accused not attacked my son with a panga on his head and face in such a brutal manner that he became unrecognisable to us, my family and I would have been able to look at his face one last time before we buried him, Riekert said in an emotion-filled plea.
The State, represented by prosecutor Joseph Andreas, opposed bail on the grounds that the accused may abscond, may interfere with the investigation and may evoke violence and endangerment as a result of anger and retaliation from the friends and relatives of the deceased.
People live in fear of people who terrorise others; they have lost faith in the system and want to be protected from people who attack others with pangas, Andreas added.
The verdict on Afrikaners bail application will be announced in two weeks.
The magistrate, prosecutor and lawyer will consult on an exact date once they have confirmed their schedules, but agreed that it should be two weeks from Thursday.
Afrikaner was represented by defence lawyer Louis la Grange.
He and his co-accused Lorensius Kooitjie, 21; Edmund Coetzee, 18; Brandon Jossop, 20; and Revival Kooitjie, 18, are charged with murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
During the attack on Riekert, they allegedly removed his belt, trousers, shoes and socks. A sixth suspect fled town after the crime and handed himself in after the first court appearance of his co-accused.
The trial of the six continues on 17 November 2014.