Heathcote Appeal Provisionally Removed From Roll

An appeal application by the State against the acquittal of Aocate Raymond Heathcote on drunken driving charges in the Swakopmund Regional Court was on Friday removed from the roll by Judges of Appeal Nate Ndauendapo and Christi Liebenberg.

It was, however, ordered that the matter be re-set on the roll during the first term of the High Court next year.

This came after the State wanted the matter to be removed from the roll pending an appeal hearing in the Supreme Court in a similar case.

However, Louis Botes, who appeared on behalf of Heathcote, told the court that his client does not want the matter to be removed.

He said that Heathcote wants the matter to be finalised so that he can go on with his life.

“At the moment the charge of drunken driving is hanging like a sword over the head of my client with his professional career suffering because of it,” Botes told the court.

He said the State’s contention that Heathcote will not suffer any prejudice should the matter be removed from the roll is laughable at best.

“Why did the State decide to appeal the verdict of the magistrate?” Botes asked.

He said that they did not accept the verdict and must now face up to their responsibility to have the matter heard.

“My client has a constitutional right to defend himself in court,” he said and continued that the court is obliged to hear the matter.

Ed Marondedze for the State argued that the matter at hand is of national importance and that the State wants the court to either remove the matter from the roll or postpone it indefinitely.

The postponement will be until the Supreme Court pronounces itself on the matter of Willem Titus who is also questioning the legality of the breathalysers, he said.

He said that the two cases are similar in nature and the Supreme Court judgment would an indication of what route to follow.

Botes would have none of that though and told the court he is discouraged by the State’s attitude which he finds disturbing.

He said that failure to finalise the matter will “materially infringe or destroy” the respondent’s entitlement to find solace in his rights.

Judge Ndauendapo said that he and Judge Liebenberg had listened to the submission made by both counsels and because of the importance of the case must be able to pronounce itself.

He said that because of the State’s failure to submit heads of argument, they decided to remove the matter from the roll, but that it must be put back on the roll during the first term of the High Court.

Source : New Era