By: Justicia Shipena
Deputy prosecutor-general Antonia Verhoef says the N$15 000 proposed by Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology double murder Ernst Lichtenstrasser is too little.
Verhoef said this during her closing arguments of Lichtenstrasser’s bail hearing in the Windhoek High Court on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Lichtenstrasser told the Court that his Austrian sister would pay his bail should it be granted.
“This money will come from his biological sister who lives in Austria, and looking at the Euro Dollar against the Namibian dollars will be very weak,” Verhoef stressed.
She added that the accused would not suffer prejudice as it is not his money.
Arguing that the accused signed an affidavit upon instruction by his previous lawyer still puts that he lied under oath.
“As a former lecturer at NIMT, he knows the consequences of signing a document,” she said.
Furthermore, she told the Court that Lichtenstrasser testifying mental issues is not new.
“This is not a new fact, and it has been in existence since 2019. He also previously told the Court he is trying for a baby with his wife,” she explained.
She said it is neither in the interest of justice nor the public for Lichtenstrasser to be released on bail.
The State alleges that Lichtenstrasser shot the two directors with an unlicensed 9mm pistol after being in dispute with them about deciding 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.
However, his lawyer Albert Titus argued that all the State could come up with so far is that a car that looks similar to the vehicle of the Lichtenstrasser was spotted in the vicinity of the murder scene.
“There is no confession, no blood splatter on the clothing, no gun powder residue on the accused or his clothing,” Titus told the Court.
Titus added that his client testified that because he is not guilty, he will challenge the State’s evidence during the trial.
He further emphasised Lichtenstrasser has no incentive to abscond.
“He does not have the means to abscond as he has no travel documents, no financial means and any attempt to obtain these would be impossible given the Court’s conditions for bail. In addition to his age and medical concerns, fleeing the borders of Namibia is not possible.”
According to him, the trial has started, but continued lockdowns and the slow pace of the trial is unlikely to see his practice come to finality.
“The fact that the State still wishes to call 30 witnesses means that the Applicant the trial might not conclude at a fast pace. My client should also enjoy attorney-client privilege and has the right to prepare as adequately as possible in the preparation of his defence,” said Titus.
Thus he said: “his continued stay in custody adversely affects his mental health as well.”
Lichtenstrasser’s first bail application was brought to Court on 13 June 2019 in Swakopmund.
Thus, it has been two years and seven months since he first applied to be released on bail.
“It has been two years and eight months since he made his first appearance in a court for the charges he is currently facing.”
Lichtenstrasser was arrested on the evening of 16 April 2019 at Karibib and has been denied bail twice.
He is facing two counts of murder, two counts of possessing a firearm without a licence, charges of possessing ammunition without a licence, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, theft and the unauthorised supply of a firearm and ammunition.
His bail judgment is expected to be delivered on 02 February 2022 by Judge Claudia Claasen.
While his trial, which began last year, will continue on 14 March 2022 and is scheduled to continue during the week from 28 March and the week from 18 July 2022.