17 Feb 2015 14:50pm
WINDHOEK, 17 FEB (NAMPA) - A former police officer who allegedly shot and killed his prison warden girlfriend in the capital during September 2011, has denied any wrongdoing or involvement in the incident.
The 43-year-old Gerhard Komeya denied killing his late girlfriend, 42-year-old Kertu Maria Tunondjambi Sheehama at the Hakahana residential area in the capital on 10 September 2011.
He entered pleas of not guilty to five charges laid against him by the State on Tuesday morning.
The former police officer entered a plea of not guilty to a count of murder, attempted murder and an alternative count of negligently discharging a firearm while in a public place, a charge of the negligent handling of a firearm, malicious damage to property when he allegedly destroyed a mobile cellular phone belonging to his late girlfriend, as well as a charge of defeating the course of justice by allegedly attempting to remove some of the spent cartridges from the crime scene.
I fully understand the charges laid against me by the State. I am just hearing these charges now.
I have nothing to say about these charges, and I have nothing to do with these charges. I have also no knowledge about the mobile cellular phone which was destroyed during the alleged incident. And finally, I am not guilty of any wrongdoing here, said Komeya.
He entered his pleas of not guilty before presiding High Court judge Naomi Shivute and as per instructions of Government-sponsored defence lawyer Monty Karuaihe.
Komeya didnt disclose much about the basis of his defence when he entered his pleas, while the State has lined up over 20 witnesses to prove him otherwise.
The trial is only set to run until this Friday, 20 February, whereafter it may be postponed because it faced incessant delays.
The former police officer allegedly shot his girlfriend with a hunting rifle, and it was in the time which the late Sheehama was scheduled to be transferred from Windhoek to the coastal town of Swakopmund in the Erongo region as part of her promotion to a higher position.
Jealousy is also said to have played a part in the tragedy.
The Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid appointed Windhoek-based defence lawyer Karuaihe a few months ago to represent the accused.
This was done following the withdrawal of the first State-appointed defence lawyer, Mese Tjituri from the case on 15 July 2014 after the two men could not reach an amicable agreement on how to proceed with the trial.
The family members and relatives had earlier claimed that the relationship between Komeya and his deceased girlfriend was characterised by violence and abuse over the years.
During his previous appearances in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court in Katutura at the end of 2011 and early 2012, a group of women and children marched to that court, and handed over a petition demanding that he should be denied bail.
In the petition, the demonstrators said the late Sheehama was killed in
a horrible, wild, barbaric and cold-blooded manner in front of her two minor children
Komeya, who was arrested by the police at their house in the Hakahana area of Katutura shortly after the alleged murder incident, has been in police custody since his arrest with no option to post bail.
State Advocate Cliff Lutibezi is representing the prosecution in the trial.