No Time to Pay Lawyer, Cop Says

A WINDHOEK City Police officer told a judge in the High Court yesterday that he has not yet found the time to pay the lawyer supposed to represent him when he goes on trial facing a murder charge.

With the trial of City Police officer Justin Munsu Simataa (30) scheduled to start before Judge Nate Ndauendapo yesterday, no defence lawyer was present in court to represent Simataa, though.

Simataa’s trial was first due to begin in the Windhoek High Court three months ago, but was postponed to yesterday to give Simataa more time to raise funds for his legal representation and to get a defence lawyer for his trial.

Simataa told Judge Ndauendapo that he got a loan to pay for his defence by the end of April. Although he has been in contact with a lawyer, he has not had time to pay the lawyer since getting hold of money for his defence, he said.

“I’ve been a little bit busy,” Simataa said.

The lawyer he has spoken to, Mbanga Siyomunji, was engaged elsewhere yesterday, with the result that Simataa’s case was postponed to today to see if the trial will be getting under way.

Simataa is due to be tried on charges of murder, attempted murder, alternatively negligent discharge or handling of a firearm, malicious damage to property, and discharge of a firearm in a public place or on a public road.

He is accused of having murdered the 25-year-old Firmino Fabrice Mael in Khomasdal in Windhoek during the early morning hours of 26 October 2012, of having tried to murder a friend of Mael, Millikan Likando, of having damaged the car in which Mael and Likando were sitting when they were shot, and of having discharged his pistol in a public place or on a public road.

The prosecution is alleging that Simataa and Mael were involved in a fight at a bar in Khomasdal before the shooting incident took place. Simataa was not on duty at the time.

After the two fighting men had been separated, Simataa allegedly went to a security guard at the bar to collect his personal firearm. He then approached Mael and his friends where they sat in a car and fired at least 10 shots at them, the state is charging in its indictment.

Mael was struck by nine of the shots. He died at the scene. Likando was struck by three shots, but survived.

After firing the shots, Simataa allegedly left the scene. He was arrested later.

In a pre-trial document in which he has indicated that he would be pleading not guilty to the charges, Simataa has claimed he was acting in self-defence, or was trying to effect an arrest, when he fired the shots.

State aocate Constance Moyo is due to conduct the prosecution during Simataa’s trial. He is free on bail.

Source : The Namibian