Admissions in Keetmanshoop murder trial admissible

Windhoek-A disputed confession made to a magistrate in Keetmanshoop and a warning statement and pointing out of the crime scene that murder accused, Jan Benedictus Fredericks, made to senior police officers, were this week declared admissible by Judge Nate Ndauendapo in the Windhoek High Court.

Fredericks had disputed the confession he made after he was arrested for allegedly murdering retired school teacher Magrietha Aletta Thirion with a wooden pole at her residence in Keetmanshoop on November 6, 2012.

Thirion died in the Katutura State Hospital the following morning as a result of severe head injuries.

It is further alleged that after he killed Thirion, Fredericks robbed her of a Nokia cellphone, SIM card, Emachene laptop and charger, a computer bag and a bedsheet/duvet cover.

The plea in the Keetmanshoop Magistrate's Court where Fredericks pleaded guilty to a charge of murder was however declared inadmissible as the magistrate did not inform Fredericks of his rights before taking the plea.

Fredericks claimed he was repeatedly assaulted by Sergeant Rudolf Kooper, the arresting officer, as well as Warrant Officer Willem Dierstaan on various occasions and only made the confession after being threatened.

According to Judge Ndauendapo the accused failed to prove he was assaulted or threatened or that he was told what to narrate to the magistrate who took down his confession.

The judge said the magistrate who recorded the confession testified that the accused did not inform him that he was assaulted or threatened and neither did the magistrate observe any injuries on the body of the accused.

He further said the evidence of the magistrate in all material aspects corroborates the evidence of the interpreter, who testified there was no misunderstanding between her and the accused and confirmed what the magistrate said.

Judge Ndauendapo said the evidence of the magistrate was honest and truthful, while that of Fredericks was littered with contradictions.

He said the version of the accused that he was assaulted is a mere fabrication and that he is satisfied the accused made the confession freely and voluntarily.

With regard to the warning statement, Judge Ndauendapo said the version of the accused that he was assaulted is highly improbable and that he is satisfied that the accused's rights, including the right to have a lawyer present, were properly explained to Fredericks.

The same with the pointing out, the judge said.

According to Judge Ndauendapo, the accused signed on every page and at the end of the notes on the pointing out and he was satisfied that no assaults or threats were directed at the accused to cooperate, and that he did so out of his own free will.

Fredericks is represented by Mbanga Siyomunji and the State by Advocate Dominic Lisulo.

Fredericks remains in custody.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia