Keetmanshoop man charged with murder set free

28 Feb 2017 17:10pm
WINDHOEK, 28 FEB (NAMPA) - A Keetmanshoop resident accused of killing the six-year-old adopted son of his girlfriend at the southern town in 2013, has been set free.
The 32-year-old Desmond Cornelius Vries was set free on Tuesday by Acting High Court Judge Boas Usiku following his acquittal on a charge of murder and two counts of assault by threat.
During trial, Vries denied killing Curtus Shille van der Westhuizen while the child was left in his care.
He also denied threatening to kill State witness Florencia Florida Piete, the mother of the deceased child, on two separate occasions.
Vries was acquitted on all charges against him after the State failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was the person involved in the boy’s death.
A number of State witnesses also contributed to the failure of the prosecution’s case as they gave conflicting statements while testifying and most of their testimonies were not considered by the court.
Acting Judge Usiku said there is no evidence that Vries was the person involved in the boy’s death.
He said there were no traces of blood resulting from the injuries the boy sustained and no one on the premises of their shack had heard the deceased screaming during the attack.
“In the result, the State has completely failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt,” the acting judge said.
At the start of the murder trial, Vries elected to remain silent and did not divulge his defence, leaving it up to the prosecution to prove all allegations against him, which they failed to do.
Van der Westhuizen died between 31 October 2013 and 01 November 2013.
A post-mortem by Dr Maksym Verushka found it that the boy died as a result of “neck strangulation”. Severe force was used to strangle him, causing the blood vessels in his neck to burst and causing haemorrhaging under the skin and among the muscles.
The post-mortem showed that the boy died immediately.
Milton Engelbrecht appeared for Vries.
State Advocate Simba Nduna unsuccessfully defended the prosecution’s case.