PG to Revive Withdrawn Murder Charge

THE prosecution of two men accused of robbing and murdering a Chinese shop owner in Windhoek nearly 10 years ago will continue despite the withdrawal of charges against the two accused this week.

“We are going to proceed with the case,” Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa told The Namibian yesterday. She said the two men against whom charges were withdrawn on Tuesday are being summoned to appear in court again, and she would be monitoring the progress of the case from now.

“This matter needs to be back on the [court] roll,” Imalwa said.

The charges against Mario Alberto Hasheela (37) and Pearly Tulonga Paulus (33) were withdrawn when Windhoek Regional Court Magistrate Dinnah Usiku refused to grant another postponement of the two men’s almost 10-year-old case.

Hasheela and Paulus were charged with counts of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, two charges of possession of a firearm without a licence, and two counts of possession of ammunition without a licence.

They were accused of robbing a Chinese shop owner, Han Fang Liang, at a service station on Mandume Ndemufayo Avenue in Windhoek on 6 May 2004. Han was shot in the head during the robbery. He later died in a hospital in the city.

Hasheela and Paulus were apprehended close to the scene of the crime. Cash amounting to N$554 390 that had been stolen from Han during the robbery was allegedly found in their possession.

The two men’s case has been marked by repeated delays and postponements since their first appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on 7 May 2004.

Their appearance in the Windhoek Regional Court this week was the 23rd appearance that Hasheela and Paulus have made in that court since 2005. On nine of the occasions that they appeared in the Windhoek Regional Court the two men’s case was postponed to a date when their trial was supposed to start.

The trial did not start on any of the scheduled trial dates. On one of those dates the defence lawyer representing Hasheela withdrew from the case, forcing a further postponement of the matter. On another four of the rescheduled trial dates either one of the defence lawyers representing Hasheela and Paulus or both defence lawyers were not available, forcing further postponements of the matter.

On Tuesday, Public Prosecutor Taodago Gaweseb asked Magistrate Usiku to grant the State a postponement so that the record of a hearing in late June 2008, in which Hasheela asked to be granted bail, could be transcribed. Gaweseb indicated that in his opinion the prosecution would need the bail hearing record during the trial.

On this occasion, though, Hasheela’s defence lawyer, Bradley Basson, objected to a further postponement, citing the Constitution’s provision that a trial should take place within a reasonable time and that an accused should be released if that does not happen.

With the magistrate refusing the further postponement, the charges against the two accused had to be withdrawn.

Paulus was granted bail of N$3 000 in September 2006. Hasheela still remained in custody until he, too, was granted bail of N$3 000 in December 2009.

Paulus was represented by defence lawyer Sisa Namandje.

Source : The Namibian