Victim dies before trial
A case stemming from as far back as 2009 had to be postponed yet again by Magistrate Sarel Egmond Jacobs at the Regional Court in Katutura last week.
The court heard on 29 June that the complainant in the matter was now deceased, which compelled the magistrate to grant State prosecutor Seredine Jacobs’ request to postpone the case to 1 July so that they could ascertain whether or not the information was correct.
For now, it remains unclear when, how or where the complainant died. It will, however, be clarified once the State receives the death certificate.
The accused in the matter are Telly Tjozongoro (41), Bernardu Neib (47), Deon Gugowab (46), Frietz Diuwella (55), Piet Felix Mphahleni (47), Desmond Steven (33), Franky Ganaseb (42), Gerson Narib (44) and Jesaya Naukosho (41).
The group of nine men are accused of one count of impersonating a police officer, kidnapping, extortion (alternatively theft) and resisting arrest each.
Details of the alleged counts the accused face remain sketchy as they were not clarified in the court documents, or during the court appearance only the postponement of the case was discussed.
This case has been postponed nearly half-a-dozen times, mainly owing to the absence of two or more of the accused persons on a day that they were scheduled to appear.
Most of them explained that it was because they had transport problems on their way to Windhoek because they are based outside the city.
However, for Ganaseb and Naukosho, it is because they were incarcerated in other towns, and were not brought to Windhoek on time.
During their appearance on 29 June, only six of the accused persons made it to court, namely Tjozongoro, Neib, Gugowab, Mphahleni, Ganaseb and Gerson. Narib could not come to court as he is presently jailed in Keetmanshoop, while a warrant of arrest had to be issued for Steven, who is at large. The remaining suspect Diuwella passed away on 3 May 2014 due to renal failure.
Explaining what happens in cases where the complainant dies before a trial is concluded, Magistrate Eric Naikaku said the court could decide to withdraw the case if the prosecution relied heavily on the deceased for the most compelling evidence.
However, if there are other witnesses in the case who can give compelling testimony in the matter, it would be allowed to proceed to trial.