S v Nuuyoma and 13 Others (CC 17/2018) [2019] NAHCMD 112 (17 April 2019);

Group

Full judgment

ORDER


a)         The matter is postponed to 08 April 2019 at 10h00 for purposes of conducting a trial-within-a-trial.


RULING


MILLER AJ

[1]        In these proceedings I commenced, hearing evidence on 01 April 2019 of a police officer in the Namibian Police Force regarding the search and seizure of specific documents allegedly found at the place of residence of accused no.1 and accused no.2. An objection was raised to the admissibility of the documents on the basis that the necessary procedures prescribed by the relevant legislation and the Constitution had not been complied with and consequently, the documents should not be admitted.

[2]        At the heart of the matter is the question whether the documents are admissible in evidence against the accused. And the question arises whether that should be decided during the course of the trial-within-a-trial, or whether the trial should proceed and the documents accepted with the consequence that the admissibility of the documents would be determined at a later stage, at the conclusion of the trial.       

[3]        I have seriously considered whether which option of the two I have mentioned I should follow. In my view, there is in the present case a very fine distinction between the two options. Whether I should proceed with the trial or whether I should conduct the trial-within-a-trial and determine the admissibility of the documents as a separate issue and in the absence of the assessors. I bear in mind that the admission of evidence even on a preliminary basis may, in the circumstances, be prejudicial to the accused in the sense that it may amount to an infringement of their rights and consequently an irregularity in the trial itself, which may impact upon the trial as a whole.

[4]        Coming to a conclusion on the matter, I have decided that if I were to err, I would err on the side of caution. I have consequently concluded that the admissibility of the documents allegedly found in possession of accused no.1 at the residence of herself and accused no.14 should be determined in a trial-within-a-trial which I will conduct in the absence of the assessors.

[5]        I therefore make the following order:

a)   The matter is postponed to 08 April 2019 at 10h00 for purposes of conducting a trial-within-a-trial.

 

_____________

MILLER

Judge

 

 

APPEARANCES:

PLAINTIFF:                                                Mr MUHONGO

                                                                   Of the Prosecutor-General’s Office,  

                                                                   Windhoek

FIRST ACCUSED:                                     Mr. CHRISTIAANS

                                                                   Of W. T. Christiaans Legal Practitioners

                                                                   Instructed by Directorate of Legal Aid,

                                                                   Windhoek

SECOND, THIRD AND

SEVENTH ACCUSED:                              Mr UANIVI

                                                                   Of Uanivi & Gaes Inc.

                                                                   Instructed by Directorate of Legal Aid,     

                                                                  Windhoek

FIFTH ACCUSED:                                     Mr KAMWI

                                                                   Of K Kamwi Law Chambers

                                                                   Instructed by Directorate of Legal Aid,

                                                                   Windhoek

SIXTH AND TENTH

ACCUSED:                                                Mr CAROLUS

                                                                   Of Neves Legal Practitioners

                                                                   Instructed by Directorate of Legal Aid,

                                                                   Windhoek

EIGHTH, NINTH AND

TWELFTH ACCUSED:                              Mr BROCKERHOFF

                                                                   Of Brockerhoff & Associates

                                                                   Instructed by Directorate of Legal Aid,

                                                                   Windhoek

ELEVENTH AND

THIRTEENTH ACCUSED:                        Mr TJITEERE

                                                                   Of Dr. Weder, Kauta & Hoveka Inc.

                                                                   Instructed by Directorate of Legal Aid,

                                                                   Windhoek

FOURTEENTH ACCUSED:                       In-Person

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