Cypher Media owner Haingura remanded in custody

06 Jan 2016 19:10pm
WINDHOEK, 06 JAN (NAMPA) - A man accused of defamation of character, extortion and assault by threat made his first appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
The accused, Chris Patrick Haingura, 31, also known as 'Chris-Paul', was arrested by the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) on Tuesday after several cases were opened against him, including assault by threat; crimen injuria and attempted extortion.
Crimen injuria is the act of 'unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impairing the dignity of another'.
He appeared on five counts Wednesday - three charges of crimen injuria; a charge of extortion; and one of assault by threat.
Magistrate Ingrid Lerato Unengu, who presided over the case, denied the accused bail but said that once he has sought for private legal representation, a formal bail application can be made. Haingura said he would opt for private legal representation.
State prosecutor, Ivann Tjizu also informed the court that there further charges could be added to the current charges.
“Indications are that further complaints have been laid against the accused,” he said.
The prosecutor added there is fear of the accused's safety, taking into account the seriousness of his case, and thus the State opposed bail at this stage.
Haingura informed the magistrate during his brief appearance that there is a conspiracy against him.
“I have been in custody and I heard that there is conspiracy for me to be kept in custody. It is January and I have to prepare my sister's children for school. They look up to me,” said the accused.
He added that a yet unidentified man convinces others to lay charges against him.
“There is no threat. How is that possible if it (publishing of content) was done online?” Haingura asked.
The case was postponed to 29 February 2015 for further investigation and for the accused to seek legal representation.
In May 2014, more than 50 musicians and other celebrities signed and handed over a petition to the Media Ombudsman in efforts to stop slanderous, deceptive and defamatory articles allegedly written about them and published on a website called ‘Cypher Media’ that belongs to Haingura.
In the same petition, they indicated their intention to have the operation of the website halted as it was “causing a lot of damage” to the artists' careers and the whole entertainment industry.