Courts' hands tied

At the end of January, 1 000 urgent court cases were on hold pending the completion of DNA and other forensic examinations.

12 February 2020 | Justice

Money and staff shortages have led to the National Forensic Science Institute (NFSI) being unable to conduct scientific examinations on time, which is causing court delays.

This is according to a copy of a letter seen by Namibian Sun which forms part of the case file of two Chinese nationals, Xuefeng Chen (29) and Zhenhai Zhou (31), who were arrested in April last year for allegedly murdering Muyevu Andreas Haushiku at Andara village in the Kavango East Region.

Haushiku, who worked for Chen, was allegedly shot in cold blood.

The NFSI's actual expenditure during the 2017/2018 financial year was N$18.6 million, which was projected to grow to N$25 million in the 2019/20 financial year.

The letter, dated 20 January 2020, which informed the Mukwe Periodic Court that the ballistic report which forms part of the case was not yet complete, ascribed the delay to a lack of funds and staff.

“The NFSI currently has no capacity to identify biologically related trace material. The NFSI does not have current capacity to do DNA analysis. The NFSI is experiencing significant challenges in attending to said priority list due to lack of adequate human and financial resources. This case will be prioritised accordingly, once resources are available to commence with scientific analysis,” the letter reads.

It further revealed that as at 20 January 2020, a total of 1 001 urgent cases were on hold pending DNA and scientific analysis.

No comment could be obtained from the NFSI director, Commissioner Paul Ludik, before going to print. The NFSI falls under the safety and security ministry. The institute, which was established in 1993, is tasked with the examination of evidence and crime scenes as part of the Namibian judicial process.

Chinese suspects

Murder suspects Chen and Zhou appeared before Magistrate Sonia Samupofu in the Mukwe Periodic Court on 21 January. The absence of the ballistic report led to the magistrate postponing the matter to 19 May.

In their bail application, the two men claimed they had acted in self-defence after being attacked with a steel hammer by the accused.

They also claimed they were not a flight risk and that their lives were no longer in danger, as the public had come to terms with what had happened.

The two accused were denied bail on 7 October 2019 and have remained in custody ever since.

Magistrate Samupofu said in her ruling on the bail application that after considering the evidence presented she was not persuaded by the defence's arguments.

“The court considered that it is not going to be in the interest of justice to release the suspects on bail,” Samupofu said.

“The offences the two accused are charged with are serious ones. The accused persons are not disputing that they shot the deceased, meaning they have a case to answer to. The State has proven it has a strong case, as it comes with a hefty sentence.

“There is a possibility that they might abscond. Accused one testified that he knows the two State witnesses, one of whom is a former employee; therefore if released on bail they might interfere with the investigation.

“The court has taken note of the testimony that the business of the accused has been suffering ever since they were arrested. However, apart from the business registration documents presented in court, no other supporting documents were presented to show the court how much they were making before the arrest and while they were in custody.

“Therefore, if the court has to compare the arguments and evidence, the one of the State carries more weight. With all evidence taken into account, I am not moved by the defence. Therefore the application is refused,” Samupofu ruled.

Namibian Sun learned yesterday that the two murder suspects have appealed to the High Court to overrule the decision of the lower court that denied them bail.


Similar News


City cops guilty of teen's murder

2 days ago - 30 March 2020 | Justice

JANA-MARI SMITHWINDHOEKThree City Police officers have been found guilty of killing a 17-year-old boy suspected of having stolen a laptop from the Windhoek City Police...

Man with two wives denied bail

5 days ago - 27 March 2020 | Justice

Kenya KamboweRUNDUThe Rundu Magistrate's Court has denied bail to a 35-year-old man who stands accused of bigamy after allegedly marrying two women in 2009 and...

Courts open despite coronavirus threat

2 weeks ago - 17 March 2020 | Justice

STAFF REPORTER Courts will remain open despite a call by authorities that large gatherings should be suspended for the next 30 days in light of two cases...

Court system on hold

2 weeks ago - 17 March 2020 | Justice

No trials will be conducted in the country's Magistrate and High Courts until 27 March, while old cases will be postponed to dates beyond that...

Hornkranz, Kalahari spark million-dollar lawsuits

2 weeks ago - 13 March 2020 | Justice

Allegations of a multitude of rights violations including excessive force against unarmed civilians by Operation Hornkranz and Kalahari Desert soldiers and police have led to...

ECN pawn saga back in court

2 weeks ago - 13 March 2020 | Justice

Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) technical director Milton Louw is expected to make a second appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court in connection with allegedly...

Itula again knocks on Supreme Court’s door

2 weeks ago - 11 March 2020 | Justice

JEMIMA BEUKES Independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula has asked that the Supreme Court set a date for a review of its decision not to nullify...

ACC summons Fishrot defence lawyer

1 month - 27 February 2020 | Justice

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday summoned South African lawyer, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, to submit a statement explaining a N$50 000 payment he received in 2018...

No reprieve for Fishrot 6

1 month - 21 February 2020 | Justice

The so-called Fishrot Six yesterday returned to the Windhoek Magistrate's Court, which ordered that they be remanded in custody until 23 April to allow for...

Judiciary hits back

1 month - 19 February 2020 | Justice

The Office of the Judiciary has defended itself against “undue attacks”, including a Landless People's Movement (LPM) allegation that it has been captured by the...

Latest News

Holes emerge in lockdown plan

6 hours ago | Disasters

JEMIMA BEUKESWINDHOEKWith law-enforcement agencies having their hands full monitoring entry into the locked-down Erongo and Khomas regions, an oversight has led to the different routes...

49 now quarantined at Zambezi...

6 hours ago | Disasters

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKAbout 49 Namibians, including immigration officials and students, are in quarantine at the state-owned Zambezi Waterfront Tourism Park in Katima Mulilo. Zambezi governor...

‘Govt must feed us’

6 hours ago | Disasters

ILENI NANDJATOOSHAKATIInformal traders are appealing to the government to feed them after the coronavirus outbreak necessitated the closure of open markets and the halting of...

April 1 no fool’s day...

6 hours ago | History

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKThe former chief of staff of Swapo’s armed wing PLAN, Charles Namoloh, says it is time the nation recognised the historical importance of 1...

Samherji’s Fishrot boss back on...

6 hours ago | Fishing

CATHERINE SASMANWINDHOEKThe Icelandic company implicated in the Namibian Fishrot scandal, Samherji, last week announced that its disgraced former CEO, Thorsteinn Már Baldvinsson, would return to...

Agriculture battles coronavirus

6 hours ago | Agriculture

STAFF REPORTER WINDHOEK While the agriculture ministry has gathered all stakeholders to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on the livestock sector, the industrialisation ministry...

Farmers keen on AALS

6 hours ago | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK There has been a marked interest from farmers, particularly from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, regarding the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme (AALS).Agribank's manager for...

Students raise online learning concerns

6 hours ago | Education

Ester KamatiWINDHOEKThe Students Union of Namibia (SUN) wants the University of Namibia (Unam) to reconsider its decision to offer online learning, due to poor internet...

The struggle to get home

6 hours ago | Transport

Ester KamatiWindhoek The owner of a Khomasdal home shop and takeaway, Gerhard van der Westhuizen, says he is concerned about the safety of his staff,...

Load More