City Centre shooter to hear mental observation outcome in September

A report containing the results of the psychiatric observation of a former Global Fund employee who allegedly shot dead a former colleague and wounded another in Windhoek in 2019, will be made public in the High Court here next month.

Simataa Simasiku on 28 January 2019 allegedly walked into the City Centre office building and shot two victims employed by the Global Fund management unit within the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Sarah Mwilima, a director of the unit, died on the scene, while the other victim, Ester Nepolo, was wounded.

On Thursday, Simasiku made another appearance before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg during a pre-trial conference of case management review, when his case was postponed to 17 September 2020 for the report of his psychiatric observation to be made public in court.

Thursday’s postponement was effected as per an agreement reached by Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef and Simasiku’s government-funded defence lawyer Vernon Lutibezi in court.

It was also made public in court on Thursday that Simasiku is now admitted to the Windhoek Central Hospital’s psychiatric unit for mental observation as per a court order issued on 18 June 2020, which compels him to undergo 30 days of psychiatric observation.

Simasiku is being observed by two psychiatrists – one employed by the State and one from the private sector – to determine the state of his mental health fitness prior to, during and after the shooting.

He will be observed in terms of the provisions of Sections 77, 78 and 79 of the Criminal Procedures Act of 1977, which deals with the courts’ referrals of accused persons for psychiatric observation.

On 18 June 2020, Lutibezi brought an urgent application before the court requesting presiding Judge Liebenberg to refer his client for mental observation following a number of consultations between the two men.

In the application, the defence lawyer said his client needs to undergo mental observation because he allegedly appeared to be disoriented and “out of touch” shortly after the alleged shooting incident.

Lutibezi wants to determine if his client is fit to stand trial and understand the proceedings of the court and if the accused might have suffered from an unknown mental illness or defect prior to, during or after the alleged commission of the crime.

On 16 July 2019, Simasiku appeared before Windhoek Magistrate Vanessa Stanley. His case was transferred from the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court to the Windhoek High Court as per a decision taken by the Office of the Prosecutor-General.

The 34-year-old Simasiku was once again on Thursday remanded in police custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility, with no option to post bail after a failed formal bail attempt in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court last year.

Source: Namibia Press Agency