09 Jul 2018 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 09 JUL (NAMPA) The trial of Gobabis resident Rachel Rittmann, who allegedly connived with her lover to murder her husband in August 2013, has seen another postponement due to the absence of her State-funded defence lawyer.
The trial was scheduled to kick off before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg Monday morning, but could not proceed because Rittmanns government-sponsored defence lawyer Hipura Ujaha is on sick leave for three days.
A medical certificate showing that the lawyer suffers from severe hypertension was presented before court.
The case was postponed to Thursday this week to allow the lawyer to recover and come to court to defend his client.
State advocates Martino Olivier and Ethel Ndlovu, who are representing the prosecution in the matter, did not object against the postponement of the case.
The 46-year-old Rittmann is charged in the matter with her lover, Ryno Ricardo du Preez, 34, in respect of the death of her husband Rudolf Rittmann, whose burnt remains were found in his car on the Windhoek-Gobabis road on 23 August 2013.
The trial is set to run until 15 August 2018.
The date for the trial was only decided upon after reports were released by two private psychiatrists - Drs Reinhardt Sieberhagen and Gerhard Marx - showing Rachel Rittmann is fit to stand trial and is not suffering from any mental illness as she claimed since June last year.
On 20 June 2017, Rittmann, through her defence lawyer Ujaha, asked the High Court to undergo 30 days of mental evaluation at the Windhoek Central Hospitals psychiatric unit.
She was observed by the two private psychiatrists to determine her mental status prior to, at the time, and after the alleged commissioning of the offence after she told the court she has a history of anxiety and depression.
Rittmann and Du Preez face one count of murder each; a count of conspiracy to murder; a count of defeating or obstructing the course of justice; a count of violating a dead body by setting it alight as well as a count of malicious damage to property.
She allegedly mixed unidentified tablets into her husbands drink and he became drowsy.
She then called in co-accused Du Preez, who was waiting nearby, to kill him.
Rudolf Rittmann was stabbed 20 times with a sharp object, presumably a knife, while he lay in a state of confusion in his bed.
The two accused then loaded his body into his car and drove it up to the Kappsfarm area; east of Windhoek and a few kilometres from the police checkpoint, where the burnt car was found.
They allegedly set the vehicle on fire in an effort to cover their tracks.
Rittmann is being held at the Klein Windhoek Police Station, while Du Preez is being held at the Windhoek Correctional Facilitys holding cells until Thursday when they return to court for the start of their trial.