Deceased’s family wants billionaire released

Job security emerged as the biggest motivation to why the murder-accused billionaire should get bail at Outjo.

07 May 2021 | Justice

Ester Kamati







OTJIWARONGO

The family of the man who died in a scuffle with a British businessman in Kamanjab says releasing the billionaire on bail could help save their jobs on the farm he owns.

Representing the family of Gerhard van Wyk who died in February on a farm owned by Brit Harvey Boulter (51), Merina de Jager, the deceased’s sister-in-law, said the family does not oppose the bail application.

She said they have "suffered the most devastating loss" and would like to move past the incident and heal.

"It was the hardest decision I have ever had to see her make," she said about her sister Anja, adding that she admires her kind heart and forgiving spirit.

De Jager added that if Boulter is not granted bail, her sister - who currently lives and works on the British billionaire’s farm - will be “financially destitute".

Bail being denied would disrupt Boulter’s ability to manage his businesses and jeopardise his responsibility towards her sister and the other employees on the farm and outside Namibia, where he operates as a businessman, she said.

"Not only my sister, but many others will lose their jobs".

"This was not a tragedy between strangers," she added, saying there was mutual respect and love between the deceased, his family and Boulter.

"Even though they are hurt, they do not want to exponentiate the damage".

It became clear during the court appearance that Boulter also contributes towards the deceased’s daughter’s tuition. She is currently enrolled at a local university.

‘I lost a friend’

At the bail application in Outjo on Thursday, Boulter said he had known the late Van Wyk (54) for about 10 years.

Boulter stands accused of shooting and killing Van Wyk, who was his farm manager, on Farm Kaross near Kamanjab on 27 February.

"I have lost a friend," a teary-eyed Boulter said, adding that he needs time to grieve.

"I'm extremely sad. He was my friend."

Boulter, who has permanent Namibian citizenship, applied for bail through his lawyer Evert Gouws, who said State investigations have been ongoing for over two months and have still not been finalised.

"We cannot deny that it is a serious crime he is being charged with," Gouws admitted, but assured the court that his client had no intention to flee trial.

Meanwhile, State lawyer Ethel Ndlovu opposed bail because the accused is “a well-travelled and -connected man who can easily abscond” and not stand trial. Ndlovu added that bail would not be in the interest of the administration of justice and of the public. She further said the State has a strong case against the accused.

Braai turned deadly

On the night of the incident, Boulter shared that he, Van Wyk, his wife and son were enjoying a braai on the farm. He said he remembers having an altercation with Van Wyk's son "and before I knew it, Gerhard senior [deceased] was there. I felt under attack by both of them".

He said he held a pistol to his chest with his left hand before "Gerhard senior tried to grab it".

“I shot him, I think," he said, recalling how the bullet went straight through his own hand in the process.

However, this is contrary to state witnesses who said Boulter pointed the gun at Van Wyk's forehead, a statement Boulter denied.

He also recalled being moved to his room and instructing the farm workers to call the police.

He added that he has no intention of missing the trial and will remain in the country. He confirmed that he is aware that it could take years.

"I'm deeply sorry for what happened. I can't say I understand it all. He was a nice man. A good man," he said.

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