By: Kelvin Chiringa
Double NIMT murder accused Ernest Lichtenstrasser is now concerned that he may spend two more years languishing in pre-trial detention as his third attempt at bail ended up dead in the water yesterday.
The 60-year-old is accused of fatally gunning down two top executives of the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology, Eckhardt Mueller and Heinz HeimoHellwig, at Arandis on 15 April 2019.
But on Wednesday morning, he said his conscience was clear on the matter, pleading his innocence even in the face of a court setback.
Reacting to the ruling yesterday, Lichtenstrasser said he was a little disappointed.
“Somehow, I am a bit disappointed. The bail application was based basically on constitutional grounds. The problem that we are faced with right now is that the prosecution had taken up to prescribe to the courts when to grant bail and when not,” he told The Villager.
He has submitted to the court that part of why he wanted bail was to build his family by attempting to have a baby.
But social media reaction to this was quite scathing.
Speaking to this publication while waiting for the comprehensive judgement document, Lichtenstrasser said he was surprised why the public turned this into a big issue.
“The fact is, we had a baby, and the baby died, and my wife concentrated on her career, and when she finished her Honours in Education, we were ready to have a second try, and my incarceration stopped it. But my concern is the length of the trial. My question is now, why prevent me from founding a family? That is another constitutional ground, and the court needs to consider it,” he said.
He also said that the state was abusing Section 61 of the Criminal Procedure Act.
“When we come back to my bail application on new facts, it is the length of incarceration. We are not going into the merits of the case. The state has a problem proving that case. So, what the state always does is, know that the court has taken the position of dismissing or instead releasing the accused on Article 12 of the Constitution when the trial has not started within a reasonable period.
“However, what the prosecution now does is push to finalize the so-called investigation, and while the trial continues to be delayed, we are experiencing this. This is why I brought the application in the first place.
“If the state had said, look, we are starting last year in February, and we will finish this year, I would have never bothered bringing an application. But now, we are probably looking at another two years because the state has had big problems in proving it, and the state bases its facts on forensics.
“Now, in the last appearance, the state expert testified that they have DNA on me, but you know the funny thing is, and my expert pointed it out, despite the Namibian Forensics Science Institute that was inaugurated for (more than) N$300 million, they are using a US DNA population database. Three hundred forty-six million inhabitants in the US compared to our 2.7 million. No wonder these DNA results are so crazy. It’s logical that when you now look t this type of DNA, it is misleading the court,” he said.
In the meantime, his trial is expected to continue from the 14th to the 18th of March 2022.