Key accused in businessman’s death not ready for trial

24 Sep 2019 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 24 SEP (NAMPA) – Panduleni Gotlieb, a key accused in the killing of Walvis Bay businessman Hans-Jörg Möller in June 2016, has indicated that he is not yet ready for the start of the murder trial.
The 30-year-old Gotlieb, through his Legal Aid-funded defence lawyer Jarmaine Muchali, on Tuesday brought an urgent application before court in which he asked presiding High Court Judge Dinah Usiku to put the start of the trial on hold because he is not yet ready for the proceedings.
Gotlieb wants the court to postpone the trial commencement for at least eight months to allow him to finish studying the voluminous documents of the disclosure of the prosecution’s case in preparation of his defence.
“I will only give further instructions to my lawyer on how to plead to the charges once I finish studying the disclosure of the State’s case. At the moment, I am not ready to plead to the charges against me today (Tuesday),” he said.
Gotlieb is accused number one in the matter over the death of Möller. He was out on bail for three other murder charges prior to the businessman’s death.
He brought the urgent written application for a postponement in terms of the provisions of Section 168 of the Criminal Procedures Act of 1977 that deals with postponement of trials in courts.
Pprosecution representative, State Advocate Martino Olivier however objected to Gotlieb’s request, saying “the request for a postponement is a mere delaying tactic”.
The start of the trial could also see further delays as Gotlieb’s co-accused David Tashiya terminated the services of his State-funded defence lawyer Mese Tjituri on Tuesday.
Tashiya claimed in court he decided to part ways with his legal representative because the lawyer allegedly failed to provide crucial documents to him on time.
Judge Usiku will give a ruling in respect of Gotlieb’s request for a postponement on Thursday and also allowed Tashiya to apply to the Justice Ministry’s Directorate of Legal Aid for another lawyer.
The five accused in the matter are Gotlieb; 29-year-old Tashiya; Malakia Shiweda, 28; David Shekundja, 27, and Ally Ndapuka Hinaivali, 29.
The late Möller was allegedly attacked and shot in the stomach during an armed robbery at his house in Walvis Bay between 16 and 17 June 2016, leading to his death in hospital a few days later.
The five accused are charged with counts of murder, attempted murder, robbery, possession of an unlicensed firearm and housebreaking with intent to rob, among other charges.
The five men remain in police custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility’s trial-awaiting section since their arrest, with no option to post bail.
Defence lawyers Mposikeng Dube, Trevor Brockerhoff and Titus Ipumbu are defending accused Shiweda, Shekundja and Hinaivali.