Legal aid fed up with Thomas

31 July 2018 | Justice

The legal aid directorate has withdrawn its approval of a government-funded defence lawyer for American murder accused Marcus Thomas, saying he was giving attorneys “unattainable instructions”.

“We have been constrained by changes in lawyers in this matter. We afforded you a number of lawyers of your choice. However, it appears most of the lawyers withdrew because of unattainable instructions from you,” legal aid director Moses Ndjarakana said in a letter to Thomas that was presented to the High Court yesterday.

“That makes it difficult to assist the court and you.”

Thomas and fellow American Kevin Donnell Townsend are on trial for allegedly murdering Andre Heckmair in Windhoek in 2011.

Henry Shimitwikeni, who was the fourth lawyer appointed for Thomas recently, told the court before the start of the proceedings that he would not be available on the dates set down for the trial.

Thomas claimed there were no conflicting instructions.

“It was only conflict of available dates for the trial. I will personally contact the director of legal aid to sort out the issue,” he assured the court.

Last Monday, his previous lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo, informed the court that he could not represent Thomas because he was representing Ashley Hendricks, one of the State witnesses in the Heckmair murder trial.

Gilroy Kasper, who was appointed after Amoomo, told the court he was unavailable for the period in which the trial is scheduled to run, as he had other engagements at the same time.

Trevor Brockerhoff, who was thereafter appointed by the legal aid directorate, also informed the court that the trial dates conflicted with his other engagements.

Meanwhile, Judge Christie Liebenberg ordered the Khomas regional crime investigations coordinator to approach Townsend at the Windhoek correctional facility for him to lay a complaint against the prison.

The court postponed the matter until today for Thomas to consider his options.

Advocate Antonia Verhoef appeared for the State, while Mbanga Siyomuinji appeared for Townsend.



FRED GOEIEMAN

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