15 Aug 2013 06:00
WINDHOEK, 15 AUG (NAMPA) - Two men accused of robbing and murdering a German flight instructor in Windhoek in 2005, will hear their fate in the Windhoek High Court on Friday.
The two - Dumingu Zuzee da Costa, 41, and 34-year-old Joseph Wasuka Nunda - stand accused of robbing and murdering Ralph Kohnke in Windhoek on 26 December 2005.
High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo set this date shortly after he had listened to written submissions for judgement by defence lawyers Advocate Wiennie Christiaans and Christian Nambahu, and State representative Deputy Prosecutor-General Belinda Wantenaar on 27 June this year.
In their submissions, the two defence lawyers had asked the court to discharge their clients because the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused were involved in the commission of the alleged crimes.
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, the defence lawyers submitted.
On her part, 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 had made to the police investigation team were admitted as evidence in court.
These 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 the 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 judge 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.
The burned remains of the 34-year-old flight instructor were found in the Goreangab Dam area in Windhoek on 29 December 2005.
Kohnke was allegedly struck on the head with a brick or other object, and died due to a skull fracture.
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.
Advocate Christiaans and Nambahu are representing the two accused persons on 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.