Minors testify in camera in murder trial
Acting Judge Boas Usiku yesterday cleared the courtroom when two minor boys alleged to have witnessed the murder of a six-year-old boy testified in camera.
The two boys who may not be identified testified in the trial of a Keetmanshoop resident accused of killing the six-year-old out of revenge for his mother allegedly interfering in his relationship.
Acting Judge Usiku ordered everyone to leave the courtroom even though the boys are normal witnesses and not victims or accused persons. Normally the public are not allowed when a minor victim or accused testifies in open court.
The court also heard on Tuesday from the former girlfriend of the man accused of the heinous deed, Desmond Vries, 31, that she and Vries had a stormy relationship which was characterised by bouts of jealousy by Vries.
She narrated to the court how Vries tore up her underwear during one of his fits of rage.
Florencia Florida Piete described an incident to the court where she said she went out with friends on a Saturday night but when she returned the next morning she was accosted by the accused who wanted to know where she was coming from. “The next moment he pulled down my pants and panties and sniffed it demanding to know who I had sex with,” the heavily pregnant and visibly distraught Florencia said between adjournments due to her feeling hot and flustered.
After the lunchtime break the hearing was adjourned to today and she was excused from testifying.
Before the adjournment Florencia however informed the court that after the incident with her underwear she removed the clothes of Vries from her bedroom and asked Clemencia van der Westhuizen, the mother of the deceased, to move in with her as she was afraid of Vries.
Before Florencia gave evidence other members of her family testified that Vries used to stay in the main house in Tseiblaagte with Florencia until he was evicted from there.
Maria Magdalene (Piete) Hamman testified that she and other members of the family were at the house on the day the victim was killed, playing dominoes with the accused when he told them “Babas sal sien, sy sal huil” meaning ‘Babas will see, she will cry’, referring to Clemencia.
The witnesses testified that Vries blamed Clemencia for the break-up between him and Florencia.
Clemencia also testified that Vries blamed her.
She said at one stage while she was doing laundry on the front step of the house, Vries came there, called Florencia and made a gesture to his wrist and his neck.
According to her she understood it to mean it is just a matter of time before he kills Florencia.
Two other witnesses, Noberto Hamman and Bernardus Piete, also testified that Vries made the threat to Clemencia (that she will see) during a session of dominoes.
However, Milton Engelbrecht, the state-funded lawyer of Vries, informed the witnesses that Vries denied making those remarks or that he played dominoes with them on that day.
Vries, 31, is accused of killing six-year-old Curtus Shille van der Westhuizen by hitting him, kicking him and/or strangling him while the child was in his care. He also faced two charges of assault by threat by allegedly threatening to kill Florencia on two separate occasions. State Advocate Simba Nduna is prosecuting.
Vries is also suspected of the robbery and murder of Karasburg businessman Tillian Walters earlier this year while he was out on bail in this case.
The case continues today and Vries remains in custody.