State wants second opinion on accused’s mental state

Windhoek-The State is asking for a second round of mental observations after a government-employed psychiatrist found a man charged with multiple counts of rape and one count of murder to be unfit to stand trial.

Dr Hilen Ndjaba diagnosed Johannes Lukuwa Hausiku with schizophrenia co-morbid with substance use disorders in November last year, and declared him unfit to stand trial.

At that time Ndjaba said: The accused is not fit to stand trial, he is incapable of understanding the court proceedings so as to make proper defence. At the time of the commission of the crime, in terms of Section 78 of the Criminal Procedure Act he was mental ill which makes him incapable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act.

The State disputes that finding and is asking the court to send Hausiku for another round of tests, which are to involve two psychiatrists, including one not in full-time employment of the State.

According to State Advocate Ethel Ndlovu, Hausiku was able to mount a defence when he testified during a trial-within-a trial dealing with certain admissions, and he can still mount a proper defence with the guidance of his State-funded legal counsel.

Lawyer Hipura Ujaha took over the case after the former legal counsel withdrew for being unable to consult and draw up a proper defence.

At the time Mbanga Siyomunji, who appeared for Hausiku, lodged an application to have Hausiku observed mentally, but his application was dismissed, causing him to withdraw as he could not with a clear conscience continue to defend Hausiku who is chopping and changing his instructions at will.

When Ujaha was appointed he immediately applied to the court for Hausiku to be sent for mental observation as he was also unable to consult him and was receiving conflicting instructions.

Judge Nate Ndauendapo then consented and Hausiku underwent psychiatric observation at the Windhoek Psychiatric Unit from October 17, 2016 to November 14, 2016, with the result that he was declared unfit to stand trial.

The State however did not accept the diagnosis and challenged the psychiatrist's findings.

During a subsequent trial-within-a-trial to determine the issue, it came to light that the occupational therapist was of the opinion that Hausiku is fit to stand trial and the State ran with that.

During his mental observation, Hausiku told the psychiatrists that he was angry because his girlfriend/wife (the mother of the murdered child) was having an affair with another man.

According to what he said, they both came from Kavango to Outjo as a couple having two children, one being the deceased, and he was aiming to stab Martha and ended up stabbing the boy because she held him up as a shield. He took him to hospital thereafter and has no recollection of a body been cut up and thrown away.

He denied the rape cases and the other allegations.

Hausiku is standing trial on 15 charges emanating from three incidents which took place at Outjo during the first half of 2012. He has denied guilt on all of the charges.

Judge Ndauendapo postponed the matter to August 15 for his ruling on the application.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia