No reason to keep Boulter in jail – Namandje

09 July 2021 | Justice

MARC SPRINGER



WINDHOEK

British billionaire and murder-accused Harvey Boulter will learn next Thursday whether his appeal against an earlier refusal of his bail application was successful and whether he will be released pending his trial.

In an appeal hearing before Judge Claudia Claasen yesterday, Boulter’s lawyer Sisa Namandje argued that magistrate Immanuel Udjombala erred in fact and in law when he refused his client’s bail application in a judgement delivered May in the Outjo Magistrate’s Court.

Namandje said the ruling was flawed considering that the magistrate did not find that Boulter was likely to abscond, interfere with the ongoing investigation or repeat-offend, but refused him bail nonetheless.

He further pointed out that the investigating officer did not dispute that Boulter does not pose a threat to society or that he shot the deceased Gerhard van Wyk by accident following a scuffle during at a braai on farm Kaross on 27 February.

The lawyer devoted much of his time to his client’s version of events, according to which Boulter was attacked by Van Wyk and his son for no apparent reason and that he took out his gun to fend off the two men. The deceased allegedly tried to grab the weapon from him, causing a shot to be fired, which injured Boulter’s left hand and hit Van Wyk in the abdomen, leading to his death on way to the hospital.

Namandje continued that the magistrate’s findings that the State has a strong case against Boulter, who is facing a long jail term if convicted, is not – at this stage – the primary focus of the inquiry.

He said the magistrate should have focused on whether Boulter was likely to leave the country, reoffend or interfere with investigations if released on bail.

N$1m bail

Prosecutor Taodago Gaweseb strongly objected to bail, saying Boulter is a foreign national and person of substantial means who would be able to "penetrate the borders of Namibia" and leave the country if released on bail, even after handing in his passport.

He further stressed that according to evidence, the accused was the aggressor and confronted Van Wyk’s son.

It was thus incorrect to suggest Boulter was trying to protect himself, was acting in self-defense or had a legitimate fear for his life, he said.

Gaweseb further submitted that if Boulter were to be granted bail, it should be set at no less than N$1 million and he should be ordered to report to police three times a week.