Ruling on admissibility of statements today

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WINDHOEK – The ruling on the admissibility of a Section 119 plea, which is a warning statement and explanation of an accused’s constitutional rights, in this case to a man accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend on a resettlement farm in the Omaheke district, will be delivered today.

Judge Christi Liebenberg announced this after hearing submissions on the matter yesterday.
A Section 119 plea is when an accused pleads in the magistrate’s court before the docket is sent to the prosecutor general for a decision on whether to prosecute and in which court the matter will be tried.
Jacob KhoiKhoi, 36, disputed that he gave a plea explanation to Magistrate Victor Nyazo, who heard his case, in good faith as he says he was merely “informed of his rights to have a legal representative present” when he pleaded not guilty during the Section 119 proceedings.
He told Judge Liebenberg that his rights were not properly “explained” to him.
He further disputed a warning statement that was taken from him after his arrest by Inspector Gawie Jantjies citing the same reason.
Khoikhoi also told the court that his right to remain silent was also not explained to him when he was arrested, although he denied admitting to killing the deceased.
He said that after Warrant-Officer Gideon Katutu arrested him, he merely told the officer, “Ok you arrested me, now take me court so I can tell my side.”
Various witnesses including the magistrate and the interpreter testified that Khoikhoi’s rights including his right to a legal representative were thoroughly explained to him and that he informed them that he understood the rights.
Nyazo told the judge that after he explained Khoikhoi’s rights to him through an interpreter, Khoikhoi told him that he does not need a legal representative at that stage.
Khoikhoi however disputed the magistrate’s testimony saying that he requested legal representation at his first appearance in court, but was never granted the opportunity to apply for legal aid until his first pre-trial appearance in the High Court.
His legal aid lawyer, Mbanga Siyomundji, argued before the judge that it was evident from the time it took for Khoikhoi to be afforded a lawyer that there was a reasonable prospect he was telling the truth.
For this reason alone, the plea explanation and warning statement should be declared inadmissible because of the failure to properly explain the constitutional rights to Khoikhoi.
On her part State Advocate Ethel Ndlovu argued that the state witnesses were all confident that they indeed explained the rights to the accused and that he informed them that he understood such rights.
She said there was no evidence before court except for the say-so of Khoikhoi that his rights were not properly explained to him.
Khoikhoi faces a charge of murder.
It is alleged that he killed his romantic partner Anna Pana, also known as Sellie, by stabbing her to death at Farm Sommerkoms on March 09, 2013.

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