Windhoek – “Mr Marcus Thomas does not suffer from any mental illness or mental defect and is accordingly capable of understanding the proceedings so as to make a proper defence,” Judge Christi Liebenberg said in the Windhoek High Court last week when he ruled the reports of two psychiatrists admissible as evidence in the trial of two Americans charged with murder.
According to the judge, Thomas who claimed he suffered a brain injury when he fell from a two-metre high fence during a botched escape attempt is capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his acts in respect of the offences charged, and is also capable of an appreciation of the wrongfulness of his actions.
Judge Liebenberg made the ruling after the defence counsels for Thomas and his co-accused Kevan Townsend – James Diedericks and Mbanga Siyomunji – objected to reports by psychiatrist Reinhardt Sieberhagen and clinical psychiatrist Professor Tuviah Zabow, which found Thomas was malingering and is fit to stand trial. Malingering is when someone is faking mental problems to avoid the consequences of his actions.
According to the reports by the two experts, supported by a report by clinical psychologist Willem Annandale, the accused was faking his symptoms. Annandale who did a number of neuropsychological tests on Thomas, found that he deliberately distorted answers and failed easy tests, while he succeeded in more difficult tests.
Thomas and Townsend are accused of killing Andre Heckmair with a single gunshot in the back of his head on January 7, 2011, in Gusinde Street in Windhoek, and robbing him of his cellphone and wallet containing 100 Swiss Franc.