13 Jul 2018 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 13 JUL (NAMPA) An absent government-funded defence lawyer caused delays in the commencement of the trial of Gobabis resident Rachel Rittmann, who allegedly connived with her lover to murder her husband in August 2013.
After it was postponed numerous times, the trial was on Thursday finally set to begin before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Friday but could not proceed, because Rittmanns State-sponsored defence lawyer Hipura Ujaha was absent before court.
The case was thereafter postponed to 20 August 2018 due to the absence of the defence lawyer.
In addition, Judge Liebenberg issued an order directing the absent Ujaha to furnish a written statement to the Registrar of the Windhoek High Court not later than 19 July 2018 to explain the reasons of his absence.
Accused Rittmann herself also told the presiding judge that she has no knowledge why her lawyer was not in attendance before court on Friday.
The 46-year-old Rittmann is charged 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.
Rittmann and Du Preez face one count each of murder, conspiracy to murder, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, 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 Du Preez, who was waiting nearby, to kill him.
The late 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.
Accused Rittmann is being held at the Klein Windhoek Police Station, while Du Preez is being held at the Windhoek Correctional Facilitys holding cells.
State advocates Martino Olivier and Ethel Ndlovu are representing the prosecution.