WINDHOEK, 03 JUL – A new State-funded defence lawyer for a South African national facing 19 human trafficking and rape offences committed in Namibia in 2012, will be made public in the High Court here this Friday.
Martinus Pretorius was left without legal representation following the withdrawal of his first government-sponsored defence lawyer Mese Tjituri from the case last Friday.
He made another appearance on Tuesday before High Court Deputy Judge-President Hosea Angula during a pre-trial conference of case management review when he was informed that the Justice Ministry’s Directorate of Legal Aid will appoint a new lawyer for him on Friday.
Initially, Legal Aid wanted prominent Windhoek-based defence lawyer, Attorney Jan Wessels to represent the accused, but the lawyer is fully booked in other courts on the dates on which Pretorius’s case is set down for trial.
The Director of Legal Aid, Patience Daringo assured the court that she will appoint another lawyer for Pretorius this Friday.
Tjituri cited inability to reach a common understanding on several issues contained in the charge sheet with Pretorius as the reason for his withdrawal, adding that his client has also not provided him with instructions on how to proceed in his defence.
Pretorius’s trial, which High Court Deputy Judge-President Angula has been assigned to preside over, is scheduled to run between 16 and 20 July 2018.
The 47-year-old Pretorius, a former South African police officer, also faces other charges emanating from the 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 until this Friday for legal representation.