WINDHOEK, 27 JUN – A South African national facing 19 human trafficking and rape offences committed in Namibia in 2012, told the Windhoek High Court on Wednesday that he is not yet ready for trial and asked for more time to prepare his defence.
Martinus Pretorius, 47, told High Court Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula during a pre-trial conference of case management review that he needs at least 30 or 60 days to go through the voluminous documents containing the prosecution’s disclosure, in order to properly prepare for his defence case.
In addition, Pretorius’ government-funded defence lawyer Mese Tjituri, also asked the court for his withdrawal from the case, because the accused has not yet given him instructions on how to proceed with the matter and the type of pleas to enter during trial.
The matter was then put on hold until Friday to allow the Registrar of the High Court to provide Pretorius with all the documents of the State’s disclosure as well as a colour copy of the photo plan.
On Friday, the court will give a ruling whether or not to accord Pretorius more time to go through the documents.
State Advocate Felistas Shikerete-Vendura did not object to the postponement of the case to Friday or against Pretorius’ request for copies of the documents.
Pretorius’ trial, which High Court Judge President Petrus Damaseb has been assigned to preside over, is scheduled to run between 16 and 20 July 2018.
Pretorius, a former South African police officer, also faces other charges emanating from coercive circumstances in which the alleged rape and human trafficking offences took place.
These include assault by threat, common assault and malicious damage to property.
He allegedly raped three minor girls aged between 13 and 14 in Swakopmund in the Erongo Region in 2012, before fleeing the country in September of the same year.
Pretorius was arrested in South Africa in April 2016, after which the extradition process commenced and concluded in December 2017, when he was finally brought back to Namibia to face the charges.
He was employed at Rössing Uranium Mine near Arandis when the alleged crimes took place.
His co-accused, Namibian Johanna Lukas, who allegedly provided the minor girls to Pretorius on four occasions between April and May 2012, was sentenced to 13 years direct imprisonment on counts of human trafficking and rape.
The judgement was handed down by Judge President Damaseb in August 2015.
Pretorius is alleged to have paid Lukas N.dollars 10 000.
Pretorius remains in police custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility with no option to post bail.