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By: Justicia Shipena

Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) double-murder accused Ernst Lichtenstrasser says that being incarcerated is getting in the way of trying to make a baby with his wife.
Lichtenstrasser said this during his bail hearing on Wednesday in the Windhoek High Court.
He is accused of murdering the NIMT directors at Arandis in 2019.
Lichtenstrasser, who was arrested at Karibib on the evening of 16 April 2019, had been previously denied bail.
In his evidence in chief with his lawyer Albert Titus, he told the court that being locked up is created extreme anxiety for him and his wife.
“My current wife does not have a baby. She lost the first one, and we have planned on a second attempt, and me being in jail is causing anxiety for both of us,” he said.
Lichtenstrasser said his Oshikwanyama speaking wife is being stigmatised for not having children.
“Getting out of here will make this better for us, and we can try again.”
According to him, Covid-19 measures at the Windhoek Correctional Facility where he is being held harmed his trial dates.
“I have lost 12 trial days because of this,” said Lichtenstrasser.
He testified that the lockdown and Covid-19 measures also affected his preparations for trial and made it challenging to receive documents.
“It also makes it difficult to consult with my lawyer.”
He then put to the court that he contracted Covid-19 in mid-2020 while in prison.
Lichtenstrasser posed N$15 000 for his bail should it be granted.
“I have no means to raise this money, but my sister is prepared to assist me,” he testified.
He said he is prepared to abide by his bail conditions should he be released on bail.
During cross-examination, deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef puts to the court that the State has a strong case against murder accused Lichtenstrasser.
Verhoef says the accused’s DNA was found on firearm parts and a gun holster buried in the desert near Arandis, which makes the risk of absconding high.
However, Lichtenstrasser argues that the State does not have a strong case and says the evidence was fabricated.
“My lady, as I’m saying, the State does not have a strong case against me in regards to all that was disclosed, including the DNA, and my intention to abscond is not there,” he said.
The State then says the reality of Covid can be accommodated.
However, Lichtenstrasser argues that the reality of covid-19 can at any moment result in postponement, which then prolongs his being locked up.
Verhoef then tells the court that the accused’s close contact with his sister raises a red flag.
She explains that it shows that he has a close relative outside Namibia to whom he may escape. Lichtenstrasser’s sister resides in Austria.
He responds, saying, “I am no longer a citizen in Austria, and I am a Namibian citizen. I stayed in Namibia for more than 30 years, and I have only been out of the country once. Not to mention that the money to travel is not there.”
The State then interjected and said one does not need a passport to escape.
“You just need bail,” Verhoef stressed.
Lichtenstrasser’s then responds, saying the State forgets about his age.
“My lady, I’m old, am I supposed to start a new life somewhere else? While my life expectancy is at stake.
I cannot start a new life somewhere, and it is not possible,” he expressed.
Verhoef told the court that Lichtenstrasser intended to mislead the court in his second bail application.
She said he indicated he had no previous convictions.
“I did not intend to mislead the court, my lady; it was a typing error,” said Lichtenstrasser.
However, Verhoef insists he lied under oath.
“Okay, it’s fine, yes I lied, but it was an error,” he testified.
Thus, the State puts to the court that him saying he will not abscond cannot be believed because he lied under oath.
Lichtenstrasser then lauded that he was not a liar.
“I did not read the affidavit. My lady, this was an error. I just assumed everything is correct.”
The State alleges that Lichtenstrasser shot the two directors with an unlicensed 9mm pistol after being in dispute with them about a decision to transfer him from the Nimt campus at Tsumeb, where he had been stationed, to Keetmanshoop.
The State also alleges that Lichtenstrasser fled from the murder scene after the deadly shooting and drove into the desert near Arandis. He then allegedly took apart the murder weapon and buried it.
His trial, which began last year, will continue on 14 March 2022 and is scheduled to continue during the week from 28 March and 18 July 2022.
The matter continues in the Windhoek High Court tomorrow at 09:00, closing arguments.

Justicia Shipena

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