DIRK Vermeulen, Edgar Clark and Michael Lusse succeeded in convincing Magistrate John Sindano that they are suitable candidates for being set free on bail until their trial and were subsequently granted bail in the amount of N$30 000 each.
In his ruling, Magistrtate Sindano also attached stringent bail conditions on the three persons accused of possessing and trading with elephant tusks. In this regard, Lusse, Clark and Vermeulen must report to the Walvis Bay Police Station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 07:00 and 19:00. They were ordered to hand their passports to the investigating officer and they are required to notify the investigating officer when they want to leave the district of Walvis Bay.
While making his ruling, Magistrate Sindano stated that he took note of the possible flight risk the accused persons pose because of the heavy penalty clause of the matter although the state did not use it a ground to oppose bail.
“The seriousness of the matter is relevant but not decisive in this case. With regard to the possibility of interference with the investigation and possible state witnesses, the state has not convinced the court that any other witnesses exists and neither has it convinced the court that the accused persons will interfere,” he said.
On the merit of the case, Magistrate Sindano stated that he was convinced that the state has a prima facie case against Vermeulen and Lusse on the possession of the elephant tusks. Similarly, the state has a prima facie case against Vermeulen and Clark on the trading charges.
“It is dangerous to put a general label on offences because it tends to blur the real picture. The reality always differs from what is perceived by people and in this specific case, the outcry from the public is also not considered to be a determining factor,” the presiding officer added.
After ruling that the three accused person should be set free on bail, the magistrate postponed the matter to 28 November this year in order to allow the police to investigate the matter further. Magistrate Sindano warned the suspect that they will forfeit their freedom if they fail to appear in court on that date.