15 Sep 2016 13:20pm
WINDHOEK, 15 SEP (NAMPA) - A Gobabis woman who allegedly connived with her lover to murder her husband in August 2013, has acquired new legal representation.
On 23 June 2016, Rachel Elizabeth Rittmann parted ways with her former Government-sponsored defence lawyer Milton Engelbrecht, claiming there is a conflict of interest between the lawyer, herself and police officers investigating the matter.
Rittmann made another appearance in the High Court before Judge Christie Liebenberg on Thursday during a pre-trial conference of case management review, when she was informed that the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid has now appointed and instructed another State-funded defence lawyer, Hipura Ujaha, to defend her during future court proceedings and when trial proper begins.
Ujaha confirmed his appointment before court on Thursday morning and also met with his client for the first time.
The case was then postponed until 17 November 2016 during the next pre-trial of case management review to allow Ujaha to properly consult his client on how to proceed with the defence.
The new defence lawyer was also instructed to file a reply to the questionnaire of the State's pre-trial memorandum before the Registrar of the Windhoek High Court, no later than 10 November 2016.
The 45-year-old Rittmann is charged in the matter alongside her alleged lover, Ryno Ricardo du Preez, 32.
The two accused face one count of murder each, amongst other charges in respect of the death of Rudolf Rittmann, 35.
The deceased's burnt remains were found in his car along the Windhoek-Gobabis road a few days after the alleged incident.
According to the indictment, the Rittmann couple had marital problems that would often lead to temporary separation stints during 2012 and 2013.
It is suspected the two accused plotted Rudolfs murder and worked together to that effect.
The motive of the murder was apparently to cash in on inheritance.
It is alleged that on 23 August 2013, Rittmann fed her husband unidentified tablets through a drink and he became drowsy.
She then called in Du Preez, who was waiting nearby, apparently to kill Rudolf.
The police suspect Rudolf was stabbed 20 times with a sharp object, presumably a knife, while he lay in a state of confusion in his bed.
The two accused then allegedly loaded his body into his car and drove it up to the Kappsfarm area, east of Windhoek and a few kilometres from the police check point, where the car was found burnt.
They apparently set the vehicle on fire in an effort to cover their tracks.
In addition to the murder charge, the duo each face a count of defeating or obstructing the course of justice and a count of violating a body by setting it alight.
They also face a count of malicious damage to property.
Rittmann is being held at the Klein Windhoek Police Station, while Du Preez is at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility's holding cells.
Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef appeared for the State.