Murder accused Americans’ trial suffers another blow … as another lawyer withdraws

23 Jul 2018 13:10pm

The case of two Americans awaiting their trial on charges of murder has suffered a setback for the umpteenth time now as one of the lawyers withdrew on ethical grounds after realising that he was conflicted. 

It is the state’s case that Marcus Thomas and Kevin Townsend, eight years ago killed a Namibian national, Andre Heckmair, when they shot him to the head in Klein Windhoek, while he was visiting his family from Switzerland. 

Lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo, who was representing Thomas told judge Christie Liebenberg that there was nothing further he could do given that one of the witnesses is his client that he was representing in other pending legal battles in both the Katutura and Swakopmund courts. 

He said he could not be in a position to fully cross examine the particular witness given their relationship and could only withdraw on ethical grounds.

“We are conflicted. It’s not our fault. This witness was only disclosed to us last week,” said the lawyer. 

The matter has been postponed to the 24th of July for Thomas to get legal representation and both were remanded in custody at the trial awaiting section of the Windhoek Correctional facility. 

The second accused is in the meantime being represented by Mbanga Siyomundji. 

This delay is another piece of bad news for the deceased’s family who are rooted to see justice done for their son.

In 2015, Townsend also fired his third lawyer, Joshua Kaumbi, citing that he was taking his mandate seriously.

The case of the two has seen more drama than these firings, the major highlight being that of Thomas’s prison-break attempt that ended up with him trapped up-side down by the razor wire of Namibia’s biggest jail. 

He was reportedly found in possession of maps of Windhoek and Swakopmund, and a cellphone

The defence lawyer had replaced Townsend’s previous legal aid-instructed lawyer, Boris Isaacks, whom he had fired again in February of the same year.

Townsend had initially been represented by defence lawyer, Vetu Uanivi, who had to call it quits in 2014, citing conflicting instructions from his client. 

Meanwhile both of the accused are facing charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful importation of a firearm into Namibia, illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of ammunition and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.