The main accused in the murder of farm owner Ernst Jacobus Cloete, 73, is disputing a warning statement he allegedly gave to a police officer after his arrest as well as a confession he allegedly made to a senior police officer.
According to Riaan Khachab he never made the warning statement and was only told to sign a piece of paper.
He further claims he was assaulted and pressurised into signing the purported warning statement and confession.
Khachab, 37, and Hans Gareth Kamberipa, 35, are currently on trial for the murder and robbery of the deceased Cloete who was killed at Farm Drie Riviere in the Rehoboth District on November 28, 2011.
Khachab and Kamberipa were arrested in December 2011.
According to the State they ambushed Cloete and struck him with an axe while he was tending to his sheep and goats that were grazing in the veld. They then tied his hands and feet with a rope.
According to the charge sheet, the accused hid the deceased’s body in some bushes and covered it with some shrub in an attempt to defeat/obstruct the course of justice.
Khachab and Kamberipa then proceeded to rob the deceased of a wallet containing a PSEMAS medical aid card, PSUN card, Meatco membership card, GIPF card and at least N$300 in cash, and also took the deceased’s .270 SAKO rifle with serial number 553150 with a suppressor, telescope and rifle bag and at least eight live .270 ammunition rounds, the indictment states.
In addition they also stole 30 sheep and three goats, a rope and a Samsung cellular phone.
The two accused are charged with one count of murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice, one count of possession of a firearm without a licence and one count of possession of ammunition without a licence.
The police officer who took down the warning statement yesterday told Judge Dinah Usiku that he never touched Khachab and that Khachab volunteered the information contained in the warning statement.
He said when he informed Khachab of his right to legal presentation and his right to remain silent, Khachab said – after some silence – that he was not sure if he needed a lawyer since he had already made a confession and preferred to finalise everything.
Warrant Officer Husselman told the court he interrogated Khachab about the property of the deceased that was found in his possession when he was brought in in the morning of December 03, 2011. Khachab had told him he wanted to make a confession.
He then informed Chief Inspector Eiseb who asked then Chief Inspector De Klerk to go to Rehoboth and take down the confession. When he formally charged Khachab and took down Khachab’s warning statement the next day, Husselman said, Khachab waived his right to have a legal representative present and talked freely.
Khachab’s legal representative, Bronell Uirab, however told Husselman that his client totally disputes that version. According to Uirab, his instructions are that Khachab told the police officer that he wants a lawyer.
Uirab said Khachab claims he was interrogated by several police officers in a room at the Rehoboth Police Station and he claims he was also assaulted.
Khachab further claimed he was forced to point at a firearm that was found at his residence and when he refused was slapped by Chief Inspector Eiseb in the presence of Husselman and other officers and he was told, ‘Serious Crime is coming from Windhoek and they will hurt you to make you talk.’
All the police officers that so far testified in the trial-within-a-trial denied that Khachab was assaulted either by themselves or in their presence.
The State has closed its case in the trial-within-a-trial and Uirab indicated he will call one witness to testify on behalf of Khachab.
Advocate Cliff Lutibezi represents the State and Mese Tjituri appears on behalf of Kamberipa. The trial continues today.