American murder suspect now on trial without lawyer

11 Feb 2019 15:10pm
WINDHOEK, 11 FEB (NAMPA) - An attempt by American national and key murder suspect, Marcus Kevin Tomas to have his trial postponed, failed in the High Court on Monday, when the court directed the proceedings to continue without him having legal representation.
Tomas was left without legal representation over the past few years after a number of State-funded defence lawyers withdrew from the trial after the accused allegedly gave them some conflicting instructions.
On Monday morning, Tomas moved an urgent application before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg in which he asked the court for a postponement of the case in order to allow him to pursue a civil court proceedings to compel the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid to provide him with a State-funded legal representation.
However, Judge Liebenberg could no longer entertain further delays of the trial and, thereafter, issued an order directing the prosecution that trial should continue without Tomas having legal representation.
In his failed application for a postponement, Tomas said he has no capacity to represent him during trial and thus wanted a civil court to compel Legal Aid to find him another government-sponsored defence lawyer.
In the result, the continuation of trial then resumed when the court allowed prosecution representative, Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef to call in a witness that was lined up to give evidence for the day.
In addition, Tomas also suffered another blow on 29 November 2018 after his attempt to be released on bail also failed when his bail application was struck off the roll of the High Court because his privately-instructed defence lawyer, Trevor Brockerhoff was unable to obtain an evidence statement from one of his client's witnesses who was reportedly out of Windhoek at the time.
The 29-year-old Tomas is charged in the matter alongside countryman Kevan Townsend, 28, who is not part of the failed application for a postponement.
In the matter, the two Americans each face charges of murder; 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.
Tomas and Townsend are the only names mentioned by the Namibian Police Force so far in connection with the investigation into the murder of Andre Heckmair.
According to the police, Heckmair was found dead behind the wheel of a Land Cruiser pick-up in a cul-de-sac in the Klein Windhoek residential area on 07 January 2011.
Investigations launched by the police led them to Townsend and Tomas, and they were arrested on 13 January 2011.
The duo made their first court appearance on 14 January 2011.
At the time of arrest, the police 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.
Townsend told the police that he is a resident of New York, while Tomas said he lives in Los Angeles.
The two Americans are held at the Windhoek Correctional Services facility, with no option to post bail.
Local lawyer Mbanga Siyomuinji is defending Townsend.
Trial continues on Tuesday.