Wife's murder confession admissible

07 March 2018 | Justice

The Windhoek High Court has ruled in a trial-within-a-trial that three murder accused, including the wife of the victim, were of sound and sober mind when they confessed to the crime.

Acting Judge Johanna Sailonga ruled further that Anastancia Nalucha Lubinda (36), David Kondjara (36) and Donald Hindjou (28) made their confessions freely and voluntarily and that she is satisfied that they each had their rights explained to them.

In a dramatic twist, the accused then asked for Sailonga's recusal, who is said to still be a magistrate.

She immediately postponed the matter to 26 March for arguments, which will also be heard from the lawyers of four other accused in the matter.

Lubinda is accused of conspiring with the two men, as well as with David Likando Matali (47) Abiud Uazeua (37) and Dollam Dollam Tjitjahuma (29) to kill her husband, 39-year-old Peter Rischo Muleke in the Goreangab Dam area between 29 and 30 March 2015.

Salionga found that there is a difference between a promise and expectation that Lubinda would be granted bail and a lenient sentence if she made a confession.

She added the investigating officer advised the accused to go to a magistrate, because he cannot take a confession.

The acting judge emphasised that the magistrate correctly proceeded with the confessions and that all the accused were not unduly influenced.

She, however, added the court will consider the replies of the accused in the pre-trial memorandum and agreed with the defence lawyers that it is an issue of credibility, before adding that she intends to deal with it in detail in the main trial.

Regarding the allegations of assault claimed by the three accused, Salionga said the three police officers, who were members of the investigation team on the dates of arrest and during the interviews conducted, denied the claim. She said the police did not observe any injuries to the accused and that they also never informed the magistrate that they were assaulted.

“It is my respective view that the version of Lubinda, Kondjara and Hindjou that they were assaulted before they were taken to make confessions are mere fabrications and I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the accused were not assaulted and gave the confessions freely and voluntarily and without undue influence,” Salionga ruled.

FRED GOEIEMAN

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