American murder accused fires another lawyer

American national, Marcus Kevin Tomas who is charged with murdering Windhoek resident Andre Heckmair in January 2011, has on Monday terminated the services of his State-funded legal representation.

Tomas terminated the services of Legal Aid-sponsored defence lawyer Titus Ipumbu a few minutes before the continuation of his alleged murder was scheduled to resume before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Monday.

In a handwritten letter presented before court this (Monday) morning, Tomas told the court that he decided to part ways with Ipumbu, citing the irretrievable break-down of trust relationship between attorney and client as the main reason for the termination of the services of the lawyer.

In the result, presiding High Court Judge Liebenberg allowed the withdrawal of Ipumbu from the matter and ordered the postponement of the continuation of the trial until Tuesday morning at 10h00 in order to allow Tomas to approach the Directorate of Legal Aid's Office for another lawyer.

In addition, the also heard that Tomas has already terminated the services of about eight (8) government-funded defence lawyers (including Ipumbu) since his alleged murder trial began in the High Court in November 2013.

Accused Tomas is charged in the matter, alongside countryman Kevan Townsend in connection with the murder of Heckmair.

The two Americans each face charges of murder; robbery with aggravating circumstances; unlawful importation of a firearm into Namibia; illegal possession of a firearm; illegal possession of ammunition; and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

According to the police, Heckmair was allegedly found dead behind the wheel of a Land Cruiser in a cul-de-sac in the Klein Windhoek residential area on 07 January 2011.

Investigations launched by the police led them to Townsend and Tomas, and they were arrested on 13 January 2011.

Townsend is represented by Mbanga Siyomuinji, while Deputy Prosecutor-General, Antonia Verhoef, is appearing for the prosecution.

Source: Namibia Press Agency