Woman to answer to murder charge

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Jeanetta Julius and Kevin Adams in the dock in the High Court.

WINDHOEK – Jeanetta Julius who is accused of killing her estranged husband with the help of her lover will have to answer to the charge, it was ordered on Wednesday last week. 

Judge Naomi Shivute dismissed an application by Julius’ defence counsel Mbanga Siyomunji in terms of Rule 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act to discharge her. A Rule 174 application is when an accused may ask to be released from all charges after the end of the State’s case if and when the State could not prove a prima facie case exists against the accused. In this instance however, Judge Shivute found that there is a prima facie case against Julius and ordered that she  be put on her defence.

Julius and her lover Kevin Adams are accused of the murder of her estranged husband Henry Thomas Julius in Keetmanshoop during the morning of March 05, 2008.

It is further alleged they hid clothing and a bloodstained tracksuit inside their bedding and prevented the police from tracing Adams by hiding his body inside a house and locking the house from the outside. The two accused have thus also been charged with defeating or obstructing, or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. Both pleaded not guilty at the start of their trial earlier this year.

The two accused made certain admissions in their plea explanations, such as that they were in the company of the deceased on the night of his murder and Adams admitted that blood found on his shorts was that of the deceased.

During submissions for the Rule 174 application, defence counsel Siyomunji justified his application by arguing that where the prosecution exhausted the evidence and a conviction is not possible except by self-incrimination, a fair trial demands that proceedings be stopped for fear that an accused’s constitutional rights may be infringed upon.

He said that none of the State witnesses gave relevant evidence in respect of each count in connection with Julius.

“Accused 2 (Julius) was not positively identified as the person seen with the deceased in the vicinity of the bridge before the deceased’s death,” he stressed.”

He said that while Julius admitted that she was in the company of the deceased on that fateful night, she left the deceased in the company of Adams and went home to sleep.

State prosecutor Shakwa Nyambe told Judge Shivute that Julius must be put on her defence since the State laid a basis for common purpose.  He said evidence indicates the two accused were seen in the company of the deceased. He said  even if Julius’ version that she left the deceased in the company of Adams was true, the court must still be satisfied that it is “reasonably possibly true” that the accused was  present at the time of the incident.

He said that if this evidence came through as a result of the accused’s plea or during cross-examination of State witnesses, it may only be accepted by the court if the accused testifies.

He further argued that the court should not discharge Julius “because even if it is not proved that she murdered the deceased, she may well be convicted of being an accessory to the fact or as an accomplice”.

In her ruling, Judge Shivute said that the truth of Julius’ alibi that she left the deceased still alive in the company of her co-accused can only be determined if tested through cross-examination. She said the question is whether the evidence adduced by the State is of such poor quality that no reasonable court may convict.

“I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the evidence produced by the State is not of such poor quality,” Shivute said and concluded that she was satisfied that the State  established a prima facie case against Julius and as such she must be put on her defence.

 

By Roland Routh

 

 

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