AFTER AMERICAN trial awaiting Marcus Thomas’s second failed application to have the judge recuse himself from the murder trial that has been dragging on since 2011, his co-accused Kevin Townsend now wants to be tried separately to avoid any more delays.
This revelation from Kevin Townsend’s lawyer came right after Judge Christie Liebenberg ruled that he would not be stepping down from the case, citing Thomas failed on a balance of probabilities to prove why the judge should recuse himself.
Townsend’s lawyer, Mbanga Siyomundji, informed the court that the possibility of Marcus appealing at the Supreme Court to have Judge Liebenberg removed from the trial will cause further unnecessary delays in the matter.
“As of Monday, my client and I have been ready to proceed with the trial. When we heard of the recusal application, we anticipated there would be an application for leave to appeal after the recusal judgment, therefore we have filed an application for separation of trial to proceed,” Siyomundji said.
Thomas’s Lawyer Titus Ipumbu indicated that he would appeal the judgement in the Supreme Court.
Thomas wants Judge Liebenberg off the case because of his alleged bias against him.
Earlier this year when the Directorate of Legal Aid refused to provide him with a legal representativ, he underwent cross-examination without a lawyer. This, he says, was an infringement of his rights to a fair trial.
According to Thomas, Judge Liebenberg’s inability to compel legal aid to explain why his previous six lawyers withdrew from representing him was an irregularity on bias. Thomas denies having a hand in the lawyers’ resignations.
The judge, however, stressed that legal aid’s position on the matter was because of Thomas unattainable instructions. The changing of lawyers has severely impacted the trial as it had to be delayed, Judge Liebenberg said.
Ipumbu is the seventh lawyer representing Thomas’s.
Meanwhile, the trial has been put on hold pending the outcome of the appeal, which is to be heard on Friday.
Thomas (34) and Townsend (33) have been in custody in Namibia since January 2011. They are facing charges in connection with the killing of the 25-year-old Andre Peter Heckmair, who was shot dead in a quiet street in Klein Windhoek on 7 January 2011.