No psychiatric examination of murder accused yet



Judge Christi Liebenberg last Wednesday again postponed the pre-trial hearing of the man accused of stabbing to death his live-in girlfriend in front of their four-year-old son, as he (the accused) has not yet been seen by a psychiatrist.

During a previous pre-trial conference, the lawyer for Johny Ryno Diergaardt, Boris Isaacks, requested the court to order Diergaardt to undergo psychiatric observation to determine his mental capability to stand trial.
Deputy Prosecutor General Antonia Verhoef informed the court that the waiting list at the Windhoek Mental Hospital is full and Diergaardt has not yet been seen by a psychiatrist.

Diergaardt is charged with the murder of Tiffany Tanita Lewin on March 3, 2014 at the room he rented at Erf 427, Garnet Street in Khomasdal.

According to the indictment Lewin and her son arrived during the early evening hours to collect some property, which the accused earlier the same day removed from her handbag.

He then stabbed her at least 27 times with knives after which he fled the scene.
Newspaper reports at the time indicated that the four-year-old boy tried to intervene and managed to stab the accused on his upper thigh in an attempt to stop the accused from continuing to stab his mother.
The deceased died on the scene due to blood loss. The accused was arrested when he returned to his room later that night.

Last Wednesday Judge Liebenberg also postponed the trial of American murder accused Marcus Thomas, as he was not yet examined by a neuro-psychologist as ordered by the judge.

Thomas was previously diagnosed with neurocognitive disorder by Dr Frederika Mthoko, allegedly caused by a fall he suffered during his failed attempt to escape in November 2014, but the State did not accept the psychiatrist’s finding that he is unfit to stand trial. The judge was informed that the psychiatric unit was still busy compiling a team as was ordered by the judge.

As Namibia does not currently have a neuro psychiatrist, the specialist is to be sourced from beyond the borders.
Townsend and Thomas are accused of killing Andre Heckmair with a single gunshot in the back of his head on January 07, 2011 at Gusinde Street in Windhoek and robbing him of his cellphone and wallet containing 100 Swiss Franc. They also allegedly imported two 9mm pistol barrels without a permit and possessed a 7.65mm pistol and ammunition without having a licence. It is further alleged the accused removed a notebook from police custody after the police seized it as an exhibit and/or burned, destroyed or otherwise disposed of some of the pages in the book.
Thomas is represented by Monty Karuaihe and Townsend by Mbanga Siyomunji after he fired his previous lawyer, Josua Kaumbi.

They are now set to return to court on January 8 next year for another pre-trial conference.


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