Lawyer withdraws from IUM student murder case

14 Mar 2019 16:30pm
WINDHOEK, 14 MAR (NAMPA) – A former long-distance bus driver who stands accused of killing his girlfriend, International University of Management student Iyaloo Ndapandula Hainghumbi, in January 2017, is now left without legal representation.
The murder suspect, Victor Elia, 37, informed High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Thursday during a pre-trial conference of case management review that his privately-instructed defence lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo, withdrew from the case as the accused is allegedly unable to pay the legal fees as per agreement reached between them, over the past few months.
Elia also confirmed before court that he was unable to pay the legal fees because he is facing difficulties and this has forced the lawyer's withdrawal.
The accused has now decided to apply to the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid for a government-sponsored defence lawyer to represent him during future court proceedings and when trial properly begins.
Deputy Prosecutor Antonia Verhoef represented the State.
The former bus driver has been in police custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility since his arrest in January 2017, with no option to post bail due to the seriousness and complexity of the charge he is facing.
He faces a charge of murder read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act of 2003 in respect of the circumstances that led to Hainghumbi's death.
Hainghumbi’s body was discovered near the B1 main road between Windhoek and Okahandja on 14 January 2017.
The prosecution alleges that Elia murdered the student by hitting her on the head numerous times with an unknown object, after which he then allegedly dumped the body on the side of the road.
It is further alleged that Elia was not happy with the deceased after learning that she wanted to end their three-year-long relationship.
He was also the last person to see the deceased alive.
However, during his failed formal bail application before court in 2017, Elia denied being involved in Hainghumbi’s death.
He told the court that he only met with her briefly on 13 January 2017 and he did not know what happened to her thereafter.
State Advocate Palmer Khumalo appeared for the prosecution.