Ruling on judge recusal set for July

05 Jun 2017 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 05 JUN (NAMPA) - A ruling on an application by murder accused Marcus Kevin Tomas for immediate recusal of High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg from his murder trial, will be made public on 03 July 2017.
Tomas, through his State-funded defence lawyer Amoomo Kadhila, informed the court Monday that he wants the judge disqualified as he feels he will not receive a fair trial.
Liebenberg, on 19 October last year, found Tomas fit to stand trial.
Some of the wordings in this judgement angered the accused, who now wants the judge to stop presiding over the case.
Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef opposed the recusal application, saying it is not based on true factual evidence.
Tomas's co-accused and fellow countryman, Kevin Donell Townsend, did not join the recusal application.
Mbanga Siyomuinji is defending Townsend.
In his judgement on 19 October 2016, Liebenberg said there were no inadequacies in the opinions of three medical experts, who found that the American is not mentally ill and is thus fit to stand trial.
Liebenberg said there is no history that Tomas suffers from any mental defects and he did not experience brain damage during his failed attempt to escape from the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility on 03 November 2014.
Tomas claimed that he suffered memory loss or other mental impairments 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 facility.
Private medical experts – psychiatrists Annandale Willem, Tuviah Zabon and Reinhardt Sieberhagen - each assessed Tomas in 2016 on a request by the State.
Tomas want the medical reports and other findings to be thrown out.
As a result, the court ruled in favour of the prosecution, and findings by the three medical experts were finally admitted as evidence before court and will now be used by the State against Tomas during trial.
The Americans are charged with the murder of Namibian, Andre Heckmair, on 07 January 2011.
They each face charges of murder; robbery with aggravating circumstances; unlawful importation of a firearm into Namibia; illegal possession of a firearm; illegal possession of ammunition; and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
The duo remains in police custody at the same facility.
(NAMPA)
SKE/CT/ND