American murder accused fit to stand trial: Court

19 Oct 2016 14:10pm
WINDHOEK, 19 OCT (NAMPA) – The High Court on Wednesday ruled that murder suspect Marcus Kevin Tomas is fit to stand trial.
Judge Christie Liebenberg said there are no inadequacies in the opinions of three medical experts who found that the American is not mentally ill and thus fit to stand trial.
Liebenberg said there is no history of Tomas suffering from any mental defects and had suffered no brain damage during his failed attempt to escape from correctional facility on 03 November 2014.
“His claims of loss of memory function are non-existent. He is fully able to understand the legal procedures, court proceedings and fully comprehend the wrongfulness of his actions,” said the judge.
The accused has been claiming that he suffered mental illness, memory loss and/or any other mental impairment since 03 November 2014 when he jumped from a tree and landed on the barbed wire of the prison fence, head down, during a failed attempt to escape from the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility.
Private medical experts – psychiatrists Annandale Willem, Tuviah Zabon and Reinhardt Sieberhagen - each mentally assessed Tomas earlier this year on a request by the State.
As a result, the court ruled in favour of the prosecution and the medical reports, and other findings by the three medical experts were finally admitted as evidence before court and will now be used by the State against Tomas during the continuation of his murder trial.
Defence lawyers James Diedericks and Mbanga Siyomuinji wanted the medical reports and other findings be thrown out.
Tomas, who was 29 years old at the time, was charged alongside fellow countryman Kevin Donell Townsend (27 at the time) in connection with the alleged killing of Namibian, Andre Heckmair on 07 January 2011.
They were arrested six days later and now face charges of murder; robbery with aggravating circumstances; the unlawful importation of a firearm into Namibia; the illegal possession of a firearm; the illegal possession of ammunition; and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
The duo is in police custody at the same correctional facility.
Trial resumes 24 April 2017.
(NAMPA)
SKE/ND/CT