Bail Withdrawn After Hit-and-Run Conviction

A WINDHOEK resident accused of killing a young pedestrian in a hit-and-run accident in the city four years ago is back in police custody after being convicted on five charges.

Magistrate Helvi Shilemba revoked the bail of Riaan De Wet Vermeulen (27) last week after she found him guilty on counts of culpable homicide, failing to stop a vehicle after an accident, failing to ascertain the injuries of someone after an accident, failing to assist someone injured in an accident, and failing to report an accident to authorities within 24 hours.

Vermeulen had been out of custody on N$10 000 bail since making a first court appearance on 10 February 2010. He pleaded not guilty to all five charges when his trial started before Magistrate Shilemba in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court in May 2011.

He was accused of having killed a Swakopmund resident, Michael Ellinger (27), in a hit-and-run accident in Windhoek’s Olympia area in the early morning hours of 7 February 2010.

Ellinger, who was working as a carpenter, was hit by a car while walking to the house where he was staying while on a visit to Windhoek. He had died from a head injury by the time he was found lying in the road in Moseacute Tjitendero Street. Broken vehicle parts were also found lying at the scene.

The vehicle parts matched the right-hand corner of the front bumper of a red bakkie that Vermeulen had been driving the night that Ellinger was killed.

Vermeulen was arrested a day and a half after the incident.

During Vermeulen’s trial the owner of the bakkie told the court that Vermeulen had reported to him that he had been involved in a collision with an Angolan man on a bike.

The court also heard that Vermeulen told the police, when a formal accident report was taken from him, that someone walking in the street ahead of the bakkie he was driving fell onto his back in front of the vehicle.

During the trial Vermeulen said he only heard the sound of a thud under the bakkie while he was driving home on the night in question, and that he kept on driving as he did not realise that he might have hit a person.

Returning to court on Friday last week, the detained Vermeulen was told that he has to be back in court again on Wednesday for the hearing of arguments from Public Prosecutor Hans Thourob and defence lawyer Evert Gous before his sentencing.

Source : The Namibian