Keetmans cell death verdict postponedBy: WERNER MENGES
THE four people still facing charges in connection with the death of a Keetmanshoop resident who died in April 2007 after a night in Police detention will have to wait another month for the verdict in their trial.
The judgement in the four accused persons’ trial was due to be delivered in the High Court in Windhoek on Thursday last week. Judge Nate Ndauendapo however told the accused that he needs more time to complete his judgement, and that it would now be handed down on September 5.
A Keetmanshoop resident, Charles Vries, is facing a charge of murder in connection with the death of Noël Calvin Thompson (42) at Keetmanshoop on April 1 2007. Three Police officers – Gert Hendrik Titsol, Lodwika Galand, and Hendrina Nghivelwa – are charged with culpable homicide.
All of the accused have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Thompson died of a ruptured liver shortly after he had been released from Police custody on April 1 2007. He had been locked up in a cell at the Keetmanshoop Police Station the previous evening, after his wife had asked the Police to remove Thompson from her house, as he was allegedly causing trouble there.
Thompson was locked up in a cell with Vries and two other detainees, who were both mentally unstable, the court heard.
After a commotion had broken out in the cell, an apparently injured Thompson was transported to a hospital at the town by Police officers who were on duty that night.
Thompson was later taken back to the Police station, and again locked up in the cell, although he had difficulty walking by then.
The prosecution has argued that there was evidence before the court which indicated that Vries had assaulted Thompson in the cell.
Vries is denying this.
Deputy Prosecutor General Belinda Wantenaar has also argued that Titsol, Galand and Nghivelwa were careless and negligent that night and failed to carry out their duty of care towards Thompson as a person who was in custody.
The three Police officers’ defence lawyer, Christie Mostert, has argued that the officers did what they could under difficult circumstances on a busy month-end evening.
They could not have foreseen that a fight would break out in the cell where Thompson was, and that he would be fatally injured in the process, he argued.