IN what appears to be yet another delay tactic at play, one of the American men accused of murdering Windhoek resident, Andre Heckmair, execution style in 2011, has again requested for the presiding officer in the matter to recuse himself.
The murder trial of Kevin Townsend (33) and Marcus Thomas (34), which was postponed earlier this year, was scheduled to kick off this morning at the Windhoek High Court, however, the latter lodged an application to have Judge Christie Liebenberg recuse himself from the proceedings.
Previously, Townsend submitted the same request, but was unsuccessful with his application.
The duo’s trial has been marred by a number of self-imposed and seemingly calculated delays, including Thomas’s failed attempt to escape jail the day before he was expected back in court.
At the resumption of the trial earlier this year, Thomas also stood unrepresented as the Directorate of Legal Aid decided he would no longer be accorded a state lawyer due to the excessive number of lawyers he has had in the past, their withdrawals and his seemingly unattainable instructions to them.
Thomas, at the time, also unsuccessfully applied for bail. He is now represented by Defense Attorney Titus Ipumbu.
Kevin is also suing the state for solitary confinement, while Thomas has been trying to convince the court that he is not fit to stand trial, especially after he was left hanging on a barbwire for hours following his botched prison escape.
Townsend’s father Roger Bonds flew in on Saturday to attend the trial. He in June this year launched a #JusticeforKevin campaign in the United States, citing injustice in his son’s arrest.
He is also demanding that his son\s trial be broadcasted live internationally.
Townsend, through his Private lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji, this morning informed the court that he is no party to the current recusal application and that he was ready to proceed with the trial.
A slight altercation erupted at an adjournment when Townsend requested to speak to his father from the dock, with police officers refusing him the chance as he questioned what law disallowed him to speak to his father.
“Your father can visit you at the cells,” Nelius Becker, newly appointed Commissioner of the Crime Investigation Division in Nampol, told Townsend.
Deputy Prosecutor General Antonia Verhoeff represents the state. The matter resumes tomorrow morning.