Tomas not allowed to appeal against dismissal of recusal application

01 Oct 2019 15:00pm
WINDHOEK, 01 OCT (NAMPA) – The Windhoek High Court on Tuesday refused to allow American national, Marcus Kevin Tomas, leave to appeal against the dismissal of his earlier application to have High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg recuse himself from his murder trial.
Liebenberg is presiding over the trial in which Tomas is charged, alongside countryman Kevan Townsend, with the murder of Windhoek resident, Andre Heckmair in January 2011.
The recusal application bid was dismissed by Liebenberg on 18 September 2019 because Tomas could not prove beyond reasonable doubt through the presentation of prima facie evidence that the presiding judge will not be impartial in handling the continuation of the trial.
Dissatisfied with the dismissal of the recusal application, Tomas on the same day through his State-funded defence lawyer, Titus Ipumbu, lodged an urgent application to be allowed leave to appeal against the dismissal of the Liebenberg’s recusal.
Additionally, an attempt by co-accused Townsend to have a separation of trial from that of Tomas also failed when the application was dismissed by the same judge.
“These two people (Marcus Tomas and Kevan Townsend) are charged jointly and a separation or duplication of their trial would lead to wastage of public resources. The two people should be tried together and it is not in the interest of the administration of justice and public to separate their trial at this stage,” Liebenberg said.
The matter was subsequently postponed to 28 October 2019 for the continuation of the trial.
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.
According to the police, Heckmair was found dead behind the wheel of a Land Cruiser 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.
Townsend was represented by Mbanga Siyomuinji, while Deputy Prosecutor-General, Antonia Verhoef, appeared for the prosecution.