Attempt for judge removal from murder trial fails

20 Apr 2018 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 20 APR (NAMPA) – An attempt by three of six people arrested over the death of a Windhoek municipal worker in 2015 for the removal of High Court Judge Johanna Salionga from continuing to preside over their trial, failed on Friday.
Annastacia Lubinda, 33; Dave Kondjera, 32; and Donald Hindjou, 26, through their respective defence lawyers, brought the now failed recusal application on 16 March 2018 after their confessions and other self-incriminating statements were admitted as evidence before court on 05 March 2018.
The disputed confessions and statements will now be used by the prosecution against the three during the continuation of the main trial.
In her ruling in respect of the recusal bid on Friday morning, Salionga said all the allegations of bias and that she cannot handle the trial in an impartial manner raised by the three accused, are without merits.
In her earlier judgement of the trial-within-trial in respect of the confessions, Salionga dismissed the application by the three accused, saying they made the confessions and statements voluntarily and were not forced by the police as they are now claiming before court.
According to the judge, the three were in full control of their minds when they gave the police investigating team detailed information about their participation in the murder of Peter Muleke, 36, on 31 March 2015.
The other three - David Matali, 45; Abiud Uazeua, 35; and the 27-year-old Dollam Tjitjahuma - were not part of the application for the removal of the judge.
Muleke was found dead a few metres from his car in the Goreangab Dam area on the western outskirts of Katutura on 31 March 2015.
Lubinda, who is listed as accused number one in the matter, is Muleke’s wife.
The six entered not guilty pleas against the charges on 14 November 2017 in the presence of their respective defence lawyers - Mbanga Siyomuinji, Milton Engelbrecht, Brownwell Uirab, Miriam Kenaruzo, Trevor Brockerhoff and Tuna Nhinda.
The six remain in custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility since April 2015, with no option to post bail.
State Advocate Martino Olivier appears for the prosecution.
A date for the continuation of the main trial will be made known in court next week.