A former police officer who stands accused of killing his two young sons by stabbing them wants the High Court to release him on bail.
Albertus Ganeb, 31, claims through his state-funded lawyer, Afrika Jantjies, that his re-arrest was unlawful and infringed on his Constitutional rights. Jantjies argued before Acting Judge Boas Usiku that according to the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), an accused cannot be re-arrested after his case was provisionally withdrawn by a magistrate.
Ganeb was released in October last year after the State failed to convince a magistrate to postpone the matter further for obtaining forensic evidence and the matter was thus struck from the roll. He was however later rearrested and the charges reinstated.
According to Jantjies, the rearrest of Ganeb was payback by the investigating officer for the “shame of having a case of such magnitude – a crime that has sent shockwaves throughout Namibia – thrown out for failure to complete investigations 18 months after the incident.”
While he conceded that the magistrate at Gobabis ruled the re-arrest lawful, Jantjies argued that the magistrate did not pronounce himself on the constitutionality of the re-arrest, as he did not have jurisdiction. “He stopped halfway because he did not have the authority,” Jantjies said and added, “but this court has”.
He lamented the “arbitrary arrest” of his client and said the investigating officer always had the intention to arrest his client once he finished his investigations. This was made clear by the investigating officer when he told Ganeb upon his release: ‘I want you in custody’,” Jantjies stated. He wants the court to make a ruling on the constitutionality of the re-arrest and to release Ganeb on bail of N$5 000.
On the other side of the argument, Deputy Prosecutor General Advocate Antonia Verhoef argued that there was nothing untoward in the re-arrest off Ganeb. According to her, there was never any doubt that Ganeb would be re-arrested once the investigations were completed. “It was for that precise reason that no summonses calling on the accused to appear before court were issued,” she said.
According to the CPA, an accused who is released provisionally can be re-summoned to appear before court at a later stage. Should such accused not appear within 14 days a warrant of arrest can then be issued. In this instance, Verhoef said, they used the direct approach and arrested Ganeb, which she said is allowable under the CPA.
According to Verhoef, the original fears that Ganeb might cause further harm to the mother of his victims, Romily Swartz, still exists. According to her the state has a strong prima facie case against Ganeb, based on records of communication via text messages between him and several state witnesses, in which he admits killing the two boys.
She asked the court to keep Ganeb in custody, not only for the safety of Swartz, but other innocent people as well.
Acting Judge Usiku indicated that he will be ready with his ruling on the bail application on Thursday next week.
Ganeb is accused of stabbing his seven-year-old son to death on April 25, 2014 and also of stabbing his four-year-old son at least six times on his body and head causing the boy to die six days later in hospital. He is further accused of assaulting the mother of the deceased boys once in October 2013 and again in 2014.
According to the indictment, the two boys, Romeo and Gregory Swartz were in the custody and care of Ganeb in Gobabis on the day in question. The charge sheet states that while he was supposed to take care of the children he allegedly first stabbed Romeo at least four times with a knife on the head and neck and killed him instantly.
He then proceeded to stab the younger boy at least six times. The latter was taken to Gobabis Hospital and later transferred to Katutura State Hospital, where he died on May 1, 2014 due to the multiple stabbings. Ganeb’s trial is set to start on October 24.