Husband ‘killer’ referred to psychiatrist

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Roland Routh

Windhoek-Judge Christi Liebenberg yesterday ordered that a woman on trial for allegedly conspiring with her lover to kill her husband must undergo psychiatric evaluation.

The State-funded defence counsel of Rachel Elizabeth Rittmann, 46, applied to the court in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act for her to be evaluated by a psychiatrist.

According to Hipura Ujaha, he is not able to consult properly as Rittmann is not “able to give proper instructions and prepare a decent defence.”

After the doctor that had diagnosed Rittmann with anxiety disorder and depressive mood swings, Dr Reinhardt Schmidt, testified that in his view she would be able to understand the proceedings, but not follow them, or testify, the judge said that in his view the accused should be examined mentally.

He ordered that Rittmann be seen by two psychiatrists, one not in full time service of the State.

State Advocate Martinho Olivier said that although he is sceptical of the timing of the application, soon after the guilty plea of Rittmanns’ co-accused, Rhyno Richardo du Preez, 33, he finds it necessary to get the issue sorted.

The State rejected the guilty plea Du Preez wanted to enter as he did not admit to all the elements of the crimes.

His State-funded lawyer, Boris Isaacks, then informed the court he is withdrawing the plea and is putting the State to prove each and every allegation against his client.

Du Preez wanted to plead guilty on the murder, conspiracy and obstructing the course of justice charges only and not guilty to the robbery charge.

They face one count of murder read with the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, one count of conspiracy to commit murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

Isaacks provided the court, the State and Rittmann’s lawyer with a lengthy plea explanation in which he basically put the blame for the murder plot squarely on the shoulders of Rittmann.

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