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Recusal application halts Dippenaar murder trial

Recusal application halts Dippenaar murder trial

Niël Terblanché

A DISPUTED term in the transcript of the court record of Jandré Dippenaar’s murder trial might lead to Magistrate Gaynor Poulton being disqualified as the presiding officer.


At the resumption of the murder trial in the Swakopmund Regional Court on Monday, Dippenaar’s legal representative, Advocate Louis Botes, handed up an application in which he insists that Magistrate Poulton disqualify herself as the judge in the matter.


Advocate Botes argued in his application that Magistrate Poulton is biased against his client.


According to part of the court record handed up as part of the application documentation, Magistrate Poulton, during an application by the state prosecutor to be allowed to recall a witness on 18 September last year used the words “…it is essential for the Court to come to a just sentence…”


Advocate Botes’s argued that the court record shows clearly that his client has already been found guilty by the presiding officer.


murder trial term transcript court record Jandré Dippenaar’s murder trial Magistrate Gaynor Poulton
MURDER TRIAL: Advocate Louis Botes applied for the recusal of Magistrate Gaynor Poulton from the Dippenaar murder trial. – Photo: File


Magistrate Poulton, upon being confronted by the application from the Dippenaar’s legal counsel, informed Advocate Botes that at the time that the application to recall Johan Joubert as the state’s expert witness was made, that she, in fact, wrote “…just decision…” and not “…just sentence…”


The Magistrate’s explanation was not accepted and Advocate Ethel Ndhlovo is set to oppose the application by Advocate Botes on behalf of the State when court proceedings resume today.


If Magistrate Poulton finds in her judgement of Advocate Botes’s application that she should indeed be disqualified and if the state does not appeal the decision, the murder trial that has started at the beginning of 2017 will have to start from afresh.


Dippenaar is charged with six counts of murder, a count of fraud and a count of driving a vehicle without a valid driver’s license. He is held responsible for the death of Walter Helmut Joschko, his wife Stephanie Dorothea Schemick Joschko, their daughter Alexandra Marlene Joschko, Dina Pretorius, Charlene Schoombee and Jan Carel Horn.

The six people died during a horrific accident on the road between Henties Bay and Swakopmund on 29 December 2014.

Dippenaar and Antonia Klara Joschko were the only survivors.


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