Double murder back on court roll

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Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva-The Oshakati High Court on Thursday overturned the findings of the psychiatric evaluation of double murder-accused Martin Rudolf, which had declared him mentally unstable in 2013.

A ruling by Judge Marlene Tommasi and Herman January set aside the finding of insanity and ordered that the matter be remitted to the trial court and concluded as such. Martin Rudolf is accused of having brutally killed two of his girlfriends on July 23, 2012 in Oshana Region.

It is alleged he murdered Frieda Shikongo by slitting her throat with a panga inside his living quarters at Okandjengedi and that he stabbed his second victim, Basilia Shikongo, with a panga all over her body at Okaukamasheshe.

Rudolf, who is also from Okaukamasheshe, was arrested at his mother’s homestead on July 24, where he was found unconscious after he allegedly drank methylated spirits in a botched suicide bid.

In a judgment read in the High Court, Rudolf’s appeal seemed to suggest he is now in a sound and sober state of mind and that he wants the trial to proceed. “It appears from the notice of appeal that it might be the case that he may understand proceedings,” read the judgment.

Last year, Rudolf appealed that the finding of his psychiatric evaluation that declared him mentally unstable be overturned. Rudolf at the time said he was just pretending to be mentally unstable and that he now wanted to come clean.

Rudolf, who laughed uncontrollably during his first court appearance at the magistrate’s court, was found to be suffering from schizophrenia, hence was not fit to stand trial. Also, when the psychiatric report was read in court, Rudof is said to not have responded and was only pointing fingers to the gallery.

The judgment also suggests there were irregularities on the part of the attending magistrates for not informing Rudolf that he might have challenged the evidence of the expert and secondly might have called his own expert.

He was apparently also not informed that the directorate of legal aid could appoint legal counsel to assist in his case. Rudolf represented himself when he pleaded guilty in the lower courts.

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