CORRECTION: Deceased boy’s family launches court protest

07 Oct 2017 10:20am
CORRECTION: Changes suspect’s surname to Booysen

KEETMANSHOOP, 06 OCT (NAMPA) – A family’s attempt to stage a demonstration in front of the Keetmanshoop Magistrate’s Court was thwarted by legal authorities on Thursday, on account that they did not submit notice of such action.
The family, neighbours and schoolmates of Thorne Nikodemus, 8, planned to hand over a petition, protesting the granting of bail to the suspect arrested in connection with the death of the boy.
Nikodemus was hit by the vehicle driven by Pieter Booysen on 24 July this year as he was crossing a speed bump on his way to school in Keetmanshoop.
He died on the scene after the accident which was witnessed by his mother, Mildred Strauss.
The deceased’s mother and father, Thomas Nikodemus, were part of the protesters, who also wanted to demand the suspension of the driver’s licence of the accused.
The protestors abandoned their plans after being advised that they should notify the court in advance about their plans to submit a petition.
Divisional Magistrate Philanda Christiaan told Nampa Friday she explained to the family that they could not protest at the court without prior notice.
“I informed the father of the processes involved in the action they wanted to take and he understood,” she said.
Demonstrations are not allowed within a 500 metre radius of a court, Christiaan said.
“With prior notice, we can make arrangements with the police to cordon off the area and ensure that the right persons are on hand to receive and respond to the petition,” she said.
The family decided to postpone the demonstration to 27 November when Booysen, who faces a charge of culpable homicide, is expected to make another appearance in court.
The parents told this agency they were upset that the suspect was granted bail while the investigations were still ongoing.
A neighbour of the family, Lina Frans, said the family and those who knew the victim were distressed at seeing the accused driving and taking his children to school.
“We feel that it is unfair that we are suffering the loss of an innocent life, while the life of the suspect continues as normal,” said Frans.
Fellow neighbours, Mekelae Mutota and Esther Ruben, said the incident has upset the whole community.
“A boy went to school and never came back, but now the justice system seems to show greater consideration for offenders,” Ruben said.
Namibian Police Force’s //Kharas Regional Crime Investigations’ Coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Chrispin Mubebo on Friday told Nampa accused persons have the right to apply for bail.
“A decision on whether to grant bail is dependent on the merits of each case. Similarly, a decision to revoke a driving licence can only be made at the conclusion of such case,” he said.