DOUBLE murder accused Ernst Josef Lichtenstrasser will appear in court later today to hear if he will be set free on bail after he approached the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court with a formal bail application.
After hearing the arguments for and against the granting of bail earlier this month, Magistrate Conchita Olivier informed the accused person that the Court will carefully deliberate on the evidence that was given in court. The magistrate said she will also have regards to the arguments submitted by the State and the defence.
Magistrate Olivier indicated that she will hand down her judgement later today.
When Lichtenstrasser made his first appearance in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court during May this year on charges of killing the Director of the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT), Eckhart Mueller and Deputy Director Heimo Hellwig in front of the institute’s administration building in Arandis, the matter was postponed to the same date that Magistrate Olivier will hand down her judgement in the formal bail application.
Sate Advocate Antonia Verhoef during her argument in opposing bail stated that the matter against the applicant should be given extraordinary weight with regards to the interest of the public because the execution style murder left the community of Arandis living in fear.
Advocate Verhoef argued that stringent reporting conditions will not guarantee that the accused person will not abscond and further stated that the notion of house arrest is out of the question because the police will simply not be able to guard the accused person around the clock until his trial comes to an end.
She also argued that the accused person cannot be trusted not to interfere with witnesses or the evidence in the matter because the investigation into the matter is not yet completed.
Verhoef stated that when all the forensic and circumstantial evidence is seen together that the State does indeed have a very strong Prima Facie case against the accused person.
Lichtenstrasser’s defence counsel, Trevor Brockerhoff requested the court to take into consideration that his client made a good case that he will indeed stand trial because he has family and financial responsibilities. Brockerhoff further argued that his client has significant ties to Namibia because of his persona sacrifice during the struggle for liberation. He stated that it take at least two years for the matter to proceed to trial and that it would be unfair to keep his client incarcerated for such a long time.
With regards to the prima facie status of the State’s case Brockerhoff argued that more than one inference can be drawn from the evidence. He stated that there was no direct evidence implicating his client in the heinous crime.