WINDHOEK, 05 APR – An attempt by a former police constable to get High Court Judge Dinah Usiku to recuse herself from presiding over his double murder trial, has failed.
Albertus !Ganeb is on trial in the High Court’s newly refurbished courtroom at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility for allegedly having stabbed his two sons to death in Gobabis in April 2014.
The application for the removal of the judge from presiding over the trial was dismissed in a ruling handed down by the same judge here on Thursday.
“The applicant has not provided the court with credible documentary evidence that this court is unfair and biased. Furthermore, the applicant did not fully advanced valid reasons that trial judge of this court is biased. The applicant also did not protest during the proceedings of the whole trial, and brought his recusal bid shortly after the prosecution closed its case. The applicant’s move is just another delaying tactic to prolong the trial,” said Judge Usiku as she dismissed the recusal bid.
Meanwhile, a determined !Ganeb informed the court that he will now bring an application to be allowed leave to appeal against the dismissal of his recusal bid in the Supreme Court.
In addition, !Ganeb will also bring a formal bail application before court to be released on bail to raise the needed funds for the legal representation of his appeal case to the Supreme Court.
His application for leave to appeal against the recusal refusal will be heard on 26 April 2018.
In his failed recusal bid, !Ganeb wanted Usiku to stop presiding over his trial with immediate effect, because he felt he did not receive a fair trial with her on the bench.
He claimed the judge was protecting the interests of the prosecution by not allowing his former defence lawyer, Boris Isaacks, to properly cross-examine and re-examine a number of State witnesses.
The former police officer also wanted his case to be referred back to the High Court’s pre-trial conference of case management review to start afresh before another judge.
State Advocate Palmer Khumalo argued that there is no basis for !Ganeb to believe his rights to a fair trial were being infringed upon.
Khumalo said Usiku disallowing questions posed repeatedly, could not be regarded as interference.
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 older boy 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 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 hearing of his appeal against the recusal ruling.
He is now defending himself after firing Africa Jantjies and Isaacks, alleging the lawyers did not represent him honestly and to the best of their abilities.