Murder Accused Goes Free

“As a result I have no choice than to find that the State failed to prove that the accused acted in common purpose when the deceased was killed.”

This was said by Judge Naomi Shivute in the Windhoek High Court when she found Rayno Olivier not guilty on one count of murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice and alternatively violating a dead body.

Olivier faced the charges related to the killing and robbing of Rietoog farmer Ellis Msututjike Tjepeuja alone after the main accused, Siegfried Doddie Lewin, hanged himself from a tree at MH Greeff Primary School in Khomasdal.

According to the judge it was a pity that Lewin could not be there to explain how he came into possession of the deceased’s cellphone as well as his car.

While the evidence against Olivier was at most circumstantial, she said, the court had to look at the material aspects of the case.

She said that evidence was led that Olivier was in the company of Lewin during the period in question, but to be established was whether he killed the deceased or in any way conspired to kill and rob the deceased.

“There is no doubt that the deceased’s life was taken away from him unlawfully, robbed of his property and his assailant defeated or obstructed the course of justice by burning his body. The only question is who committed these atrocities?” the judge asked.

Since the cause of death was not established due to the fact that the body of the deceased was charred, it was not proven that he died of a gunshot wound.

This, she said, minimizes the evidence that Olivier was seen with a firearm in his possession.

She noted the State conceded that it had only circumstantial evidence against the accused and in such a scenario the court must be able to determine that the only reasonable inference to be drawn from such evidence proves the guilt of an accused, which was not possible in this instance.

“For the foregoing reasons this court cannot also rely on circumstantial evidence because the requirements for the inference to be drawn have not been met. I therefore give the benefit of the doubt to Accused 2,” she stated.

The charges stem from the gruesome murder of former Namibia Development Fund manager and farmer Tjipueja whose charred body was found near a bridge in the Rietoog area on June 28 2007 after having been missing for almost two weeks since his departure to his farm on June 14, 2007.

Olivier and Lewin were accused of murdering Tjipueja during the period of June 13 to 27, 2007 near Rietoog in the Rehoboth district as well as robbing Tjipueja of N$20 000 in cash, an Isuzu pick-up (bakkie) and a cellphone by using force.

It is further alleged Lewin and Olivier set alight the body of Tjipueja after killing him and that they threatened witnesses with violence, and that they extorted money from the wife of the deceased, Isolde Tjipueja, through intimidation.

Both men pleaded not guilty to all charges at the start of their trial.

Aocate Winnie Christians represented Olivier.

Source : New Era