Stabbing trial goes on despite request for private mental check

10 May 2017 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 10 MAY (NAMPA) - The trial of Windhoek resident Johny Ryno Diergaardt, accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death in Khomasdal about three years ago, is set to begin in October despite his request for a private mental observation.
The trial is scheduled to kick-off before High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo on 16 October, even though the accused is demanding a private psychiatric observation to be conducted by psychiatrists of his choice.
Diergaardt was in February seen by State psychiatrists at the Windhoek Central Hospital's Psychiatry Unit and declared fit to stand trial. They said he is able to understand court proceedings, give instructions to his legal representative and can differentiate between right and wrong.
Diergaardt claims he cannot recall the events leading up to and resulting in the brutal stabbing of his girlfriend.
Braam Cupido, who was standing in for Diergaardt's defence lawyer Boris Isaacks, informed the court on Wednesday the accused has sent a letter to the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid, requesting it to fund the private observation after he failed to raise the needed funds.
Cupido said quotations by some private psychiatrists were obtained and forwarded to that directorate for consideration.
Cupido and the State’s Deputy Prosecutor-General, Antonia Verhoef decided the trial will proceed later this year, with or without the private psychiatric observation, because the case has been on the roll of the High Court's pre-trial conference of case management review for a long time.
The 30-year-old Diergaardt is charged with the murder of Tiffany Tanita Lewin on 03 March 2014 at the room he rented on Erf 427 in Garnet Street.
Diergaardt allegedly stabbed his girlfriend in front of her 4-year-old son.
Lewin was stabbed at least 27 times with knives. She died on the scene due to blood loss.
Media reports at the time indicated the boy intervened and stabbed the accused on his upper thigh in an attempt to stop him from stabbing his mother.
Diergaardt remains in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial-awaiting prisoners.