Windhoek-The Windhoek High Court yesterday refused to release on bail a resident of Henties Bay who is on trial for allegedly having sexually violated and murdered a 13-year-old girl at the town in October 2014.
The Jandre Jacques de Klerk, 27, was arrested on October 24, 2014 in connection with the alleged rape and murder of 13-year-old Rachel Vanessa Boois and has been in police custody for two years and four months at Windhoek Central Correctional Facility with no option for bail.
De Klerk’s quest to again obtain his freedom was refused, as per the ruling handed down by High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Thursday morning, following the dismissal of de Klerk’s formal bail application that was heard over the past few days. De Klerk brought the now failed formal bail application before court through his State-funded defence lawyer, Titus Mbaeva.
“Looking at the manner in which the alleged rape and murder crimes were committed, it is evident that this was a callous act, in which a little young vulnerable girl had been brutally sexually violated and murdered.
“This country at present suffers an unprecedented wave of violent crimes committed against the most vulnerable in the society. Women and children are a class of persons constituting a significant portion of society, and have the most immediate, compelling and direct interest that the court protect them against those in society who have no respect for the rights to life, dignity and integrity of others; rights which are enshrined in our Constitution.
“Women and children are thus entitled to demand that these rights are upheld by the courts who, in circumstances as at the present, must be alive to protect these rights at pre-trial stage,” said Liebenberg.
He further said the public cannot be left to the mercy of criminals, where neither the police nor the courts can effectively protect them once they are released on bail. The presiding judge was of the opinion De Klerk’s claims of being innocent and his insistence that he will not abscond from Namibia to other countries to evade prosecution are not very reassuring.
’’All the evidence presented during the bail hearing are taken into account and I am not persuaded that accused De Klerk has shown on a balance of probabilities that it would be in the interest of the administration of justice that he be admitted to bail, pending the finalisation of his trial. In the result, the application for bail is dismissed.’’
The State, represented by Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef, had strongly objected to the granting of bail on the grounds that De Klerk faces multiple charges, all of which are of serious nature.
Further, Verhoef said, there is a risk the accused would interfere with state witnesses if released on bail.
Two witnesses who took the stand in the Windhoek High Court last week described De Klerk as a non-violent man, who was incapable of rape and murder. However, during their testimony it became clear that the two witnesses seemed to have little understanding of the seriousness of the charges levelled against de Klerk.
They strongly defended him and pleaded with the court to grant him bail and allow him back into society.
A summary of substantial facts contained in the charge sheet has it that De Klerk forced himself on the little girl, and raped her.
He then reportedly followed this up by inserting a stick into the private parts of the child before finally killing her. It is said the rape and murder victim lived in the same street as De Klerk.
Police investigating officers said they had found De Klerk’s semen on the victim’s body and discovered his blood on the fingertips of the deceased child.
De Klerk reportedly has another pending case of rape and housebreaking. He was on Thursday again remanded in police custody at Windhoek Central Correctional Facility following the rejection of his bail application.
The harrowing rape and murder trial resumes in the High Court on March 23.