WINDHOEK, 16 MAR – A former police constable who allegedly stabbed his two sons to death in Gobabis almost four years ago, now wants High Court Judge Dinah Usiku to recuse herself from presiding over his double murder trial.
Albertus !Ganeb on Friday brought an urgent application to court for Usiku’s recusal from the case with immediate effect as he feels he is not receiving a fair trial.
!Ganeb claims the presiding judge is protecting the interest of the prosecution when she did not allow the accused’s former defence lawyer, Boris Isaacks, to properly cross-examine and re-examine a number of State witnesses.
!Ganeb further maintain the judge protected and shielded a number of State witnesses from answering specific questions posed by his former defence lawyer during the trial.
“My constitutional rights to a fair trial are now being threatened and infringed by the manner in which Judge Dinah Usiku is handling this case. The judge is particularly biased for her constant interference in the proceeding by disallowing the defence to properly question the State witnesses on several occasions,” said !Ganeb.
The former police officer now also wants the matter to be referred back to the High Court’s pre-trial conference of case management review to start afresh before another judge.
However, State Advocate Palmer Khumalo strongly argued that there is no basis for !Ganeb to believe that his rights to a fair trial were being infringed upon. He said her (Usiku) disallowing questions which were repeated over and over cannot be regarded as interference.
“!Ganeb’s application for the judge’s recusal is without merits and should be refused by the court,” said Khumalo.
A ruling in respect of this recusal application will be made known on 05 April 2018.
On 06 October 2016, !Ganeb suffered an early setback when Acting High Court Judge Boas Usiku refused to release him on bail and thereby dismissed his urgent formal bail application.
The acting judge said the totality of the evidence presented before court during the bail hearing clearly showed the brutal manner in which the two boys died at the hands of the appellant.
In the matter, the victims – Tirtus Romeo Shaun Swartz, 7, and four-year-old Gregory Swartz – were stabbed at the Epako settlement on 25 April 2014.
Tirtus was stabbed four times in the head and once in the neck; while Gregory was stabbed once in the neck, once in the head and once in the back.
The seven-year-old died at the scene while Gregory succumbed to his injuries in the Katutura State Hospital a few days after the incident.
!Ganeb allegedly stabbed his two sons in a fit of jealousy after he had seen a text message from another man on the mobile phone of the children’s mother, Romily Swartz.
He then allegedly threatened to kill Romily, the two boys and the person who sent the text message.
!Ganeb remains in custody at the Hosea Kutako International Airport police holding cells, pending the ruling of the recusal bid.
!Ganeb is now defending himself after he fired Africa Jantjies and Isaacks, alleging the lawyers did not represent him honestly and to the best of their abilities.