JUDGE Kobus Miller in handing down judgement in the urgent application of the Fishrot Six to have their warrants of arrest declared illegal and for them to be immediately released from the Seeis prison, has ruled that the accused failed to show urgency when they brought the matter to the high court.
Miller thus ruled today that the matter be removed from the court roll and for the applicants to pay the respondents’ legal costs.
“The rather leisurely steps taken by the applicants in this matter to bring the application after they abandoned their formal bail application at the beginning of December in the criminal matter flies in the face of the definition of urgency as set out in the rules of the High Court,” Miller ruled.
During the reading of his judgment, Miller said the matter was allowed to linger further when the application was filed with the High Court.
The explanation given for the delay was that the applicants sought the services from senior council from South Africa, but that the legal representatives were arrested and pleaded guilty to entering Namibia without the proper work permits.
“In their explanation, the applicants cited that instructing council had difficulty soliciting the services of senior council from South Africa. The facts, however, are painted on a large canvas and in broad strokes and lacks the detail of what application was submitted to whom and it is not clear. The delay is not explained and it is not for me to read into the papers what is not there,” he continued.
Judge Miller stated that the applicants were deprived of liberty, but it was delayed far beyond what was reasonable and thus self created.
He stated that the leisurely steps taken by the applicants after their arrest and the subsequent abandonment of their formal bail application flies in the face of what can be determined as urgency under the rules of the High Court.
This means that the former minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau, the former Minister of Justice, Sacky Shanghala, former Fishcor chairperson James Hatuikulipi, Esau’s son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi, Investec Namibia manager Ricardo Gustavo and James’ nephew Pius Mwatulelo, will have to stay in custody until their next appearance on the criminal matter in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on 20 February 2020, unless they bring forth a formal bail application before then.