Tomas given last chance to find legal representation

31 Jul 2018 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 31 JUL (NAMPA) – American national Marcus Kevin Tomas, who faces a charge of murder in connection with the murder of Windhoek resident Andre Heckmair in 2011, has been given one last chance to find legal representation.
High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Tuesday directed Tomas to ensure that he secures legal representation of his choice by 11 February 2019.
The court has further ordered Tomas to again approach the Justice Ministry’s Directorate of Legal Aid with a formal letter explaining in writing the reasons why he still needs government-sponsored legal representation during the continuation of the trial next year.
“Today’s postponement is the last chance for you to secure your own legal representation or again approach the Directorate of Legal Aid for a State-funded defence lawyer. The continuation of this trial will proceed as scheduled on 11 February 2018 with or without you having legal representation,” warned the judge.
Tomas will return to the High Court on 28 November 2018 to brief the judge on progress made in respect of his legal representation.
Last Tuesday, the Directorate of Legal Aid appointed and instructed local lawyer Kasper Gilroy, but he was unable to represent Tomas as he is fully booked in other courts on the dates the alleged murder trial was set down for continuation.
Tomas was last week left without legal representation after his lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo withdrew from the case. Amoomo withdrew just before the trial was scheduled to continue before court, citing a conflict of interest as one of the State witnesses is also his client in a criminal matter pending at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court.
Amoomo is the third lawyer to withdraw from representing Tomas after Willem Visser and Monty Karuaihe.
Visser withdrew from the case in 2015 after Tomas told the court at the beginning of the trial that he wanted to plead guilty and Karuaihe withdrew on 02 January 2016 after losing interest in the case.
Tomas, 30, is on trial alongside his alleged accomplice and fellow American national, Kevan Donell Townsend, 29, who is represented by Mbanga Siyomuinji.
The two men each face charges of murder; robbery with aggravating circumstances; the unlawful importation of a firearm into Namibia; the illegal possession of a firearm; the illegal possession of ammunition and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
During the duo’s first court appearance in January 2011, Townsend denied knowing the deceased, claiming that he first heard that name after his arrest.
Townsend and Tomas are the only names mentioned by the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) so far in connection with the investigation into the murder.
Heckmair was found dead behind the wheel of a Land Cruiser in Klein Windhoek on 07 January 2011 and investigations led the police to a guesthouse in Windhoek West later that day.
Townsend and Tomas were arrested there on 13 January 2011 on a charge of illegal possession of cannabis so that they could be kept in custody while the police were busy investigating the murder case and their links to Heckmair.
The police at the time said they had been unable to locate the murder weapon or the mobile phone and wallet containing at least N.dollars 1 000 that were missing from Heckmair’s car.
The two Americans remain in police custody.
Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef did not object to the postponement.