No Bail for Hochfeld Murder Accused

Hochfeld resident Karl Eichoff, 31, will have to spend time in custody pending the finalisation of his trial after an appeal against a refusal of bail by an Okahandja magistrate was dismissed in the High Court on Monday.

Magistrate Khae Primus Swartz refused to grant the accused bail in November last year after the prosecution team led by Deputy Prosecutor-General, Antonia Verhoef, presented evidence indicating that Eichhoff was a flight risk and could abscond from Namibia if released on bail.

Other grounds for the refusal of bail were that Eichhoff is facing serious charges of murder and attempting to defeat the course of justice, and that it would not be in the interest of the public to grant him bail.

Judge Collins Parker on Monday upheld the arguments of the State, but indicated that he would give reasons for his dismissal of Eichoff’s appeal on or before May 9 this year. Aocate JP Jones who appeared for Eichoff at the appeal on instructions of defense lawyer Willem Visser tried his best to convince Judge Parker to reverse the decision of magistrate Swartz, but to no avail.

Jones argued fervently that none of the State’s objections carried any water. He said the State’s contention that Eichoff was a flight risk because he had ties in South Africa and Germany was “preposterous” as that could be said of almost every Namibian citizen. He said Namibia’s history is such that most if not all Namibians are in one way or another related to someone in South Africa or Germany.

He said while Eichoff admitted that the shots that killed 51-year-old Cornelius ‘Axarob’ Slinger and his three hunting dogs came from his rifle, it was never his intention to kill a human being. He said the State’s entire case was based on circumstantial evidence and that the State had the onus to prove “intent” before wrongfulness can be established. According to Jones, Eichoff had indicated his willingness to suffer the consequences of his actions which was demonstrated by his cooperation with the police investigation.

However, Verhoef reiterated the State’s objections to bail. She said the magistrate could not be faulted for finding that Eichoff posed a flight risk. She said the evidence before the court was that Eichoff never had a formal job in Namibia, that he applied for a work permit in South Africa and that he had family in Germany.

Eichoff is accused of killing Slinger and his three dogs and burying them in an aarark burrow at his father’s farm, Vergenoeg. According to earlier reports, Slinger left his homestead some days prior to his death in search of missing goats. When he did not return after a few days his family reported him missing to the police at Hochfeld. After a search by police and community members Slinger and his dogs’ remains were found on farm Vergenoeg which borders Slinger’s homestead.

Source : New Era