23 Jul 2018 15:00pm
WINDHOEK, 23 JUL (NAMPA) - A senior Namibian Police Force (NamPol) officer accused of shooting dead a learner and wounding a woman at Gobabis two years ago, on Monday denied committing the offence.
The 49-year-old detective inspector, Lazarus Oscar Awaseb, denied committing the offence when he entered not guilty pleas to the charges of murder, attempted murder, negligent discharge of a firearm, possession of a firearm and ammunition without a licence, malicious damage to property and theft at the start of his trial.
Awaseb, through his State-funded defence lawyer Mese Tjituri, did not disclose anything in respect of the not guilty pleas, challenging the prosecution to prove every allegation contained in the charge sheet.
His trial started before High Court Judge Dinah Usiku at the newly-refurbished court building located at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility.
On 16 May 2018, Awaseb suffered a heavy blow when High Court Judge Johanna Salionga refused to release him on bail on the grounds that the police inspector faces multiple serious charges. The judge said releasing him would not be in the public interest or the administration of justice at this stage.
Other reasons for the refusal of bail were that he was a senior officer in NamPol and once granted bail, he could interfere with the prosecutions case by directly or indirectly influencing State witnesses.
Awasebs defence of the deterioration of his health when he developed asthma due to incarceration cannot be an excuse for the granting of bail, because the prison authorities can move him to a well-ventilated holding cell upon request, Salionga said at the time.
Awaseb was the head of NamPols Criminal Investigations Unit at Gobabis in the Omaheke Region at the time of the shooting incident that claimed the life of the learner.
He is accused of shooting and wounding his girlfriend, Mildred Haoses, 22, and killing 18-year-old Odilo Rathebe Motonane on 22 March 2016.
The romantic relationship between Awaseb and Haoses started in 2015 and at that stage, Haoses was apparently already involved in a relationship with Motonane.
It is further alleged that she ended her relationship with Awaseb in March 2016 and that the senior police officer was not happy about it.
He showed up at her shack in the early morning hours of 22 March 2016 and reportedly found her in bed with the teenager.
Awaseb allegedly first shot Motonane dead and then shot Haoses three times in the hip and thigh before she managed to flee from the shack.
The accused then allegedly shot and wounded himself in the shoulder.
State Advocate Cliff Lutibezi is defending the prosecution.
The trial continues on Tuesday.