IN what is purported to be yet another trial delay for the two American nationals accused of murder, one of the men this morning announced the termination of his lawyer’s services.
Marcus Thomas, whose last and unsuccessful application to have the presiding judge off the case, today announced that he would no longer be needing the services of his lawyer, Titus Iipumbu, whose instructions were from Legal aid. This, he says, is because of a breakdown of trust between the two.
Thomas and his co-accused, Kevin Townsend, were scheduled to go on trial today and state witnesses from other towns were ready to proceed.
Iipumbu, however, said that Thomas’ decision came as a surprise to him when he visited him at the cells last week Tuesday. He denied that trust was broken between the two. According to him, in May, Thomas had requested him to acquire a “motivated docket index” – a concept he says that the Namibian legal system doesn’t have.
“Maybe it is a concept in the American legal system. We don’t have it,” Iipumbu said.
Iipumbu added that Thomas has access to the indictment and the relevant documents to his case.
Deputy Prosecutor General, Antonia Verhoeff, maintained that last year in July, the state provided Thomas a box of all the documents relating to his case. Verhoff placed it on record that Iipumbu was the nineth lawyer to the list of Thomas’ legal representation.
Additionally, Iipumbu said that last week, Thomas had asked him if he knew the police officers listed as witnesses on the charge sheet.
“I told him I know some of the police officers on the list. These are police officers who work at the serious crime unit and of because I have interacted with them on a professional level at court, given the nature of my profession and the number of years I have been a practicing lawyer. They are not my friends and I have explained this to my client. As a criminal lawyer, ofcause you’d have communicated with police officers professionally,” Iipumbu said.
Verhoeff maintained that the situation is rather an attempt on Thomas’ part to “hold the court hostage”, citing that his reasoning is not “genuine” and a mere attempt to secure a delay.
The matter is adjourned to tomorrow morning for legal aid’s pronunciation on the matter.