Key American murder suspect, Tomas seeks judge recusal

Marcus Kevin Tomas, one of the two American nationals accused of murdering Namibian national, Andre Heckmair here in January 2011, is now seeking the recusal of High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg from continuing to preside over the alleged murder trial.

High Court Judge Liebenberg is presiding over this trial in which Tomas is charged alongside fellow countryman Kevan Townsend over the death of Windhoek resident Heckmair.

The trial of the two Americans was set down to continue before Liebenberg this morning, but could not go ahead as scheduled after Tomas' Legal Aid-funded defence lawyer, Titus Ipumbu, brought an urgent formal application asking for the recusal of the presiding judge from the trial.

In his heads of argument in respect of the recusal application, Tomas submitted that it would be in the interest of the administration of justice for the presiding judge to recuse himself from the trial so as to ensure a fair and impartial finality on the matter.

Furthermore, Tomas wants the proceedings of his criminal trial to be stopped and to start afresh under another judge, saying that there is an apprehension of bias if judge Liebenberg is allowed to continue presiding over the trial.

Source: Namibia Press Agency