THE murder trial of Ernst Josef Lichtenstrasser, accused of killing Eckhart Mueller and Heimo Hellwig in front of the administration building of the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology a little more than a year ago, will proceed in the High Court of Namibia.
During his last appearance in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court towards the end of February this year, the accused person was requested to enter a plea. Lichtenstrasser pleaded not guilty all counts.
He faces two counts of premeditated murder, one count of possessing an unlicensed fire arm, one count of possessing ammunition for an unlicensed fire arm and one count of perverting the course of justice by hiding the murder weapon under rocks in the Namib Desert.
After hearing the accused person’s plea in February, Magistrate Nelao Brown referred the matter to the Prosecutor General for a decision whether Lichtenstrasser will stand trial in the High Court in Windhoek or the Regional Court in Swakopmund.
Since then the Prosecutor General decided that the murder trial will proceed in the Windhoek High Court and at the end of April Magistrate Brown ordered that a complete record of all court proceedings in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court must be transferred to the High Court in Windhoek in order for the murder trial to proceed.
When the order was made Lichtenstrasser appeared in absentia due to lockdown measures prohibiting travel between the different regions of the country.
He is currently incarcerated at the Windhoek Central Prison with other trial awaiting prisoners.
During his last few appearances in the magistrate’s court Lichtenstrasser, also known as Baptista, beseeched the presiding officer to strike the matter from the roll because the process of the court was taking too long and that it was infringing on his right to a swift trial.
Lichtenstrasser is set to make his first appearance in the Windhoek High Court for a process known as a pre-trial conference on the 5th of June 2020