Illness Derails Stoop Murder Trial

A mysterious illness that has affected the main accused in the ongoing Stoop murder trial in the Windhoek High Court has halted court proceedings.

Nelsiene Utiapatie Kauaria, 28, is currently undergoing medical tests to diagnose her illness, Judge Alfred Siboleka was told yesterday by her state-funded lawyer, Louis Karsten.

The case was already previously postponed to yesterday when suddenly Kauaria fell ill. Judge Siboleka granted another postponement to Wednesday.

The case is currently in the middle of a trial-within-a-trial to determine the admissibility of warning statements and Kauaria’s alleged “pointing out” the third accused in the matter, Kasorere Katjingisua.

The accused claim the confessions and pointing out were not made freely and voluntarily, but that they were beaten and threatened to comply.

They further claimed their legal rights were not properly explained to them especially the part where they have the right to a state-funded lawyer.

All of the police officers involved in the investigation have in some way or another already testified that none of the accused’s constitutional rights were contravened. Both Sergeant Billy Kamusuvise and Warrant-Officer Eslad Jamuine who were the arresting officers testified that they expressly told the accused about their right to legal aid and their right not to incriminate themselves, but that only Accused 2, George Tjikuao Katjingisua, 30, made use of his right to remain silent.

They said both Kauaria and Kasorere Katjingisua wanted to “tell what happened”.

The magistrate who recorded Kasorere Katjingisua’s confession, Claudia Claasen, testified before Judge Siboleka she got the impression he was “streetwise”.

Claasen said Kasorere told her he was not beaten or coerced by anyone to make a statement, but that he “just wanted to tell the truth”.

She also maintained she expressly explained his right to have a legal representative present, even one provided by the State through legal aid, but that he said he did not need one at that stage. Kauaria and the Katjingisua siblings face charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances and conspiracy to commit robbery with aggravating circumstances. The State alleges the trio during the period 28 to 29 August 2009 killed 78-year-old Gideon Johannes (Koos) Stoop at his flat at Erf 304, Shilunga Street in Cimbebasia, a residential suburb of Windhoek.

Willem Visser represents George Katjingisua, Monty Karuaihe is for Kasorere Katjingisua on the ticket of legal aid and Deputy Prosecutor General Antonia Verhoef appears for the State.

Source : New Era